Sharjah Art Foundation collaborated with leading European institutions on three major exhibitions that opened last autumn.
From 7 October 2022 to 29 January 2023 at the Serpentine, London, the work of pioneering Sudanese artist Kamala Ibrahim Ishag was presented in an exhibition organised by the Serpentine and Sharjah Art Foundation in collaboration with The Africa Institute, Sharjah. Kamala Ibrahim Ishag: States of Oneness built on the artist’s first institutional retrospective, Women in Crystal Cubes, presented at Sharjah Art Foundation in 2016 and celebrated the breadth and importance of Ishag’s oeuvre To mark the exhibition’s opening, Ibrahim Ishag joined Salah M. Hassan, Director, The Africa Institute, for a conversation about her work at The Africa Centre, London. Additionally, Ishag discussed her work, teaching career, and the exhibition in a conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director, Serpentine, which was held at the Royal College of Art, where the artist was a student in the 1960s. The final weekend of the exhibition included an evening of poetry, spoken word and music, titled Ceremonies of Oneness, that took place at Serpentine in celebration of the artist’s work and its relationship to spirituality, kinship and the natural world.
At Deichtorhallen in Hamburg, In the Heart of Another Country: The Diasporic Imagination in the Sharjah Art Foundation Collection draws from the Sharjah Art Foundation Collection. The exhibition, taking place from 28 October 2022 until 12 March 2023, showcases the work of more than 60 artists through over 150 artworks in all media, many of which have rarely, if ever, been seen outside of their original context. The presentation explores the concept of home, tracing a travelogue through multiple underrepresented sites, histories, and geographies within the art historical canon. Recently restored installations are presented alongside contemporary acquisitions, which narrate a communal story of kinship amongst artists—one often developed against a backdrop of political turmoil and social unrest. The artists featured in the exhibition have traversed migratory routes from South and West Asia, through Africa, and the Caribbean. Acclaimed participating artists came together in a rare encounter to commemorate the occasion in a dialogue, exploring the exhibition’s concepts of longing, belonging, and rootedness. The exhibition is accompanied by extensive video, audio and photo documentation at www.intheheartofanothercountry.com
Following presentations at Sharjah Art Foundation and Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm Hrair Sarkissian: The Other Side of Silence is on view at Bonnefanten, Maastricht from 29 November 2022 until 14 May 2023. The first mid-career survey of work by London-based Syrian-Armenian artist Hrair Sarkissian, the exhibition explores the myriad ways in which contested histories are narrated and distributed through images. Anchoring the selection of works on display are two ambitious commissions: a photographic installation, Last Seen (2018–2021), commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation and Sweet and Sour (2022), commissioned by the Bonnefanten, which premiered at the exhibition’s opening in Maastricht. The exhibition features the most extensive presentation of many of the artist’s most significant works produced since 2006, including an archaeological re-imagining in Unfinished (2006) and a personal investigation into his Armenian heritage in In Between (2006). Two well-known works by the artist from the Sharjah Art Foundation Collection, Execution Squares (2008) and Final Flight (2017–2019), are also on view. The exhibition is accompanied by the first extensive monograph on the artist of the same name, find out more here.
Kamala Ibrahim Ishag: States of Oneness is organised by Sharjah Art Foundation and Serpentine, in collaboration with The Africa Institute, Sharjah. It is co-curated by Hoor Al Qasimi, Director, Sharjah Art Foundation; Salah M. Hassan, Director, The Africa Institute, and Professor at Cornell University; and Melissa Blanchflower, Curator Exhibitions and Public Art; with Sarah Hamed, Assistant Curator Serpentine.
Kamala Ibrahim Ishag’s talk at The Africa Centre in London was organised in partnership with Sharjah Art Foundation, Serpentine, London, The Africa Centre in London and The Africa Institute, Sharjah. The Artist’s conversation at the Royal College of Art, London was presented in collaboration with Sharjah Art Foundation, The Africa Institute, Sharjah, Frieze Masters, London and the Royal College of Art, School of Architecture, London.
In the Heart of Another Country is organised by Deichtorhallen, Hamburg and Sharjah Art Foundation. The exhibition is curated by Dr Omar Kholeif, Director of Collections and Senior Curator, Sharjah Art Foundation.
Hrair Sarkissian: The Other Side of Silence is organised by Sharjah Art Foundation, Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm and the Bonnefanten, Maastricht. This exhibition is curated by Dr Omar Kholeif, Director of Collections and Senior Curator, Sharjah Art Foundation; Dr Theodor Ringborg, Artistic Director, Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm; and Stijn Huijts, Artistic Director, the Bonnefanten, Maastricht.
Kamala Ibrahim Ishaq, 2019
Photo by Prince Claus Fund