March Meeting 2021 (MM 2021), Sharjah Art Foundation’s annual convening of artists, curators and art practitioners to explore critical issues in contemporary art, returns from 12 to 21 March in an expanded 10-day online and on-site programme.
This edition of the March Meeting brings together former Sharjah Biennial curators, artistic directors and artists as well as art historians and art critics to consider the role and impact of the Sharjah Biennial in the region and the global contemporary art scene at large. MM 2021 will also explore the evolution of the Sharjah Biennial, focusing on its disruption of traditional modes of curating and displaying art by activating non-institutional spaces as well as non-geographic models of representation.
MM 2021 speakers and participants include Tarek Abou El Fetouh (curator); Thuraya Al-Baqsami (artist, writer); Mona Al Khaja (artist); Hisham Al Madhloum (Chairman, Sharjah Arts Collection); Noora Al Mualla (Director of Learning and Research, Sharjah Art Foundation); Hoor Al Qasimi (President and Director, Sharjah Art Foundation); John Akomfrah (artist, filmmaker); Yousif Aydabi (Cultural Advisor, Sheikh Dr Sultan Al Qasimi Centre); Sammy Baloji (visual artist and Co-founder of the Lubumbashi Biennale); Ute Meta Bauer (Founding Director, NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore and Professor, School of Art, Design and Media, NTU); Zarina Bhimji (artist); Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev (Director, Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art and Director, Fondazione Francesco Federico Cerruti); Lucrezia Cippitelli (scholar, curator); Iftikhar Dadi (Associate Professor, History of Art and Director, South Asia Program, Cornell University); Catherine David (Deputy Director, National Museum of Modern Art, Centre Pompidou); Manthia Diawara (Professor, NYU, and filmmaker); Bongiwe Dhlomo–Mautloa (artist, curator); Anita Dube (artist, curator); Ehab Ellaban (Director, Center of Arts, Cairo); Reem Fadda (Director, Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation); Coco Fusco (artist, writer and Professor, Cooper Union School of Art); Elizabeth Giorgis (Associate Professor, University of Addis Ababa); Thembinkosi Goniwe (Assistant Professor of Art History, Rhodes University); Hou Hanru (Artistic Director, MAXXI); Yuko Hasegawa (Artistic director, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo and Professor, Tokyo University of the Arts); Salah M. Hassan (Director, The Africa Institute, Sharjah and Goldwin Smith Professor, Cornell University); Eungie Joo (Curator of Contemporary Art, San Francisco Museum of Art); Geeta Kapur (art critic, curator); Mohammed Kazem (artist); Omar Kholeif (Director of Collections and Senior Curator, Sharjah Art Foundation); Vasif Kortun (curator); Adrian Lahoud (Dean, School of Architecture, Royal College of Art, London, Co-chair, Rights of Future Generations Working Group and curator, first Sharjah Architecture Triennial); Peter Lewis (curator); Arshiya Lokhandwala (art historian, curator and Founder, Lakeeren Art Gallery); Margarita Gonzalez Lorente (Vice Director, 13th edition of Havana Biennial and Curator, International Contemporary Art, National Museum of Fine Arts, Havana); Amina Menia (artist); Gabi Ngcobo (curator, educator); Otobong Nkanga (artist); Chika Okeke-Agulu (Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Art & Archaeology, Princeton University); Jack Persekian (Director, Al Ma'amal Foundation); Qudsia Rahim (Executive Director, Lahore Biennale Foundation and Director, Lahore Biennale); Enrique Rivera (Director, Biennial of Media Arts of Santiago); Alex Dika Saggerman (Assistant Professor, Rutgers University) Nada Shabout (Professor, Art History and Coordinator, Contemporary Arab and Muslim Cultural Studies Initiative, University of North Texas); Sadia Shirazi (Cornell University and Whitney Independent Program); Suha Shoman (Founder and Chair, Darat Al Funun, The Khalid Shoman Foundation); Aisha Stoby (curator, researcher); Alia Swastika (curator); John Tain (Head of Research, Asia Art Archive); Ming Tiampo (Professor, Art History, Institute for Comparative Studies in Literature, Art and Culture, Carleton University and Co-Director, Centre for Transnational Cultural Analysis); Christine Tohmé (Founding Director, Ashkal Alwan); Françoise Vergès (author, public educator, decolonial feminist); Octavio Zaya (Executive Director, Cuban Art Foundation); and Tirdad Zolghadr (Associate Curator, KW Institute for Contemporary Art and Artistic Director, Sommerakademie Paul Klee).
Examining the 30-year history of the Sharjah Biennial and the future of the biennial model through panels, lectures and performances, March Meeting 2021: Unravelling the Present serves as the launch of Sharjah Biennial 15: Thinking Historically in the Present, conceived by the late Okwui Enwezor and curated by Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF) Director Hoor Al Qasimi alongside the Sharjah Biennial (SB15) Working Group and Advisory Committee, opening in spring 2022.
MM 2021 is an integral part of the framework for SB15: Thinking Historically in the Present laid out by Enwezor (1963–2019). Building on Enwezor’s remarkable and transformative contribution to contemporary art, SB15 will serve as a platform for the exploration of his curatorial and intellectual legacy. The Biennial will reflect on the critical work of alternative platforms and artistic experimentation enabled by the emergence of the contemporary art biennial, uniquely embracing Enwezor’s insistence on the art exhibition as an important vehicle for engaging with history, politics and society and the ways in which these domains shape our global present. The Biennial will be realised by Hoor Al Qasimi as curator in conjunction with the SB15 Working Group and Advisory Committee.
In addition to panels and lectures, the programme will include performances led by acclaimed artist and musician Tarek Atoui as well as resident artists and advisors participating in the residency programme that is taking place as part of Atoui’s ongoing solo exhibition Cycles in 11. Participants include Leyya Mona Tawil, Kristoffer Kjaerskov and Safeya Alblooshi (from 1 to 15 March), and Boris Shershenkov, Hadi Zeidan and Zeynab Ghandour (from 14 to 23 March).
Coinciding with MM 2021, the exhibitions Rayyane Tabet: Exquisite Corpse, curated by SAF Senior Curator Ryan Inouye, and Unsettled Objects, curated by SAF Director of Collections and Senior Curator Omar Kholeif, will open on 12 March 2021. Zarina Bhimji: Black Pocket and Tarek Atoui: Cycles in 11, both curated by SAF Director Hoor Al Qasimi, will also remain on view through 10 April 2021.