Focal Point art book fair, 2022. Bait Obaid Al Shamsi. Image courtesy of Sharjah Art Foundation


On 26 November, Sharjah Art Foundation announced the winners of the 2022 Publishing Grant during this year’s Focal Point Art Book Fair. The winners are LIBERATION RADIO by Chimurenga, Between the Brush and the Archive by Abdullah Al-Mutairi and The Spectre of Ancestors Becoming by RAW Material Company and Tuan Andrew Nguyen.

Selected by Hoor Al Qasimi, President and Director of Sharjah Art Foundation, the winning projects will be co-published by the Foundation and released during Focal Point 2023 and 2024.

The ceremony also included the launch of the publications by the 2021 Publishing Grant awardees: State of Cinema by Bakhita Al Ameri, Landwalks: Across Palestine and South Africa by Tomà Berlanda and Meghan Ho-Tong, How to Not Build a Nation by The Forest Curriculum and (Fine) Arts Dissertations by Reliable Copy (Nihaal Faizel and Sarasija Subramanian).

Almost 400 applicants, twice the number from last year, responded to the international open call. The majority of entries came from Egypt, followed by India, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates. Of the total applications, 47% were in Arabic, while 70% were submitted under the Experimental Publications category. Proposals were received from, or on behalf of, artists, writers, editors, researchers, magazines, zines, collectives, collaborative research projects, museums, publishing houses, journals and non-profit cultural organisations.

2022 Grantees

Chimurenga’s LIBERATION RADIO explores broadcasting and cultural initiatives by African liberation movements in their struggle against colonialism and apartheid in the Swahili and Central African regions. It charts their connections to anti-colonial movements across the continent, such as Nasserism in Egypt and independence movements in French-occupied Algeria. Chimurenga is a pan-African platform for writing, art and politics founded by Ntone Edjabe in 2002. Taking many forms and drawing together multiple voices from across Africa and the diaspora, Chimurenga operates as an innovative platform for free ideas and political reflection about Africa by Africans.

Al-Mutairi’s Between the Brush and the Archive looks at Kuwaiti artist Khalifa Al-Qattan’s personal archive from the 1950s till the late 1970s. To be published in Arabic and English in a limited print run of 300 copies, the text shows how Al-Qattan’s practice exemplifies the experimental and counter-cultural energy prevalent in Kuwait at the onset of the country’s modernisation. An artist and writer based in Kuwait, Al-Mutairi is part of the contemporary art collective GCC. His work has been exhibited at institutions such as Sharjah Art Foundation, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and the Fridericianum, Kassel, Germany.

RAW Material Company and Tuan Andrew Nguyen’s The Spectre of Ancestors Becoming focuses on the Vietnamese-Senegalese diaspora, built from the French colonial enterprise that recruited Senegalese riflemen to fight for the French in the First Indochina War (1946–1954). Exploring the relationship between the riflemen and the Vietnamese women they met, this community-sourced publication, growing out of a collaboration with the existing diaspora, sheds light on the stories of the community’s female figures and their role in the Senegalese social fabric. Tuan Andrew Nguyen is an artist who explores strategies of political resistance enacted through counter-memory and post-memory. RAW Material Company, an arts initiative based in Dakar, is involved with curatorial practice, artistic education, residencies, knowledge production and archiving of theory and criticism on art.

Sharjah Art Foundation Publishing Grant

The Publishing Grant invites cultural producers in the following fields to submit project proposals: art and cultural scholars, translators, writers, editors, independent publishers and publishing houses, collectives and non-profit institutions. Projects should contribute to the production of original ideas and critical thinking and take an experimental and innovative approach to publishing.

The grant is committed to supporting printed matter that stands out for its intellectual, graphic and material qualities. While the final project must be presented in a printed format, an e-book version or digital reading component is encouraged.

Sharjah Art Foundation provides a total of 30,000 USD to multiple grantees in addition to publishing and distribution support.