Sharjah Biennial 12: The past, the present, the possible (SB12), which opened on Thursday in the presence of H.H. Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the UAE Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, is displaying works by more than fifty artists and cultural practitioners from twenty-five countries, with over two thirds of the participants presenting new work and commissions.
Curated by Eungie Joo with associate curator Ryan Inouye, and organised by Sharjah Art Foundation, SB12 takes place in Sharjah, crossing the emirate to sites in and around the city, as well as in the city of Kalba on the Gulf of Oman, and will be on view through 5 June, 2015.
Rather than conforming to proscribed themes, works in SB12 are presented in conversation with each other. Challenging modes of participation and engagement, The past the present, the possible invites participants and the public to reflect upon the possibilities and ambitions of Sharjah, a city and emirate still in the process of imagining itself through education, culture, religion, heritage and science, organisers said.
SB12 acknowledges the centrality of the present respecting the past, but rejecting nostalgia and the burden of history in favour of productive imaginings of the possible. These perspectives resonate with the ideas of philosopher Henri Lefebvre in his essay The Right to the City (1967), which inspired the exhibition's title.
March Meeting 2015 will include panel discussions, keynote lectures, conversations, screenings and performances pertaining to the respective programmes' concerns.
The Biennial also features SB12 Monthly Talks, a series of artist talks, workshops and conversations with SB12 artists.
Sharjah Biennial is organised by Sharjah Art Foundation, which brings a broad range of contemporary art and cultural programmes to the communities of Sharjah, the UAE, and the region. Since 1993, Sharjah Biennial has commissioned, produced, and presented large-scale public installations, performances, and films, offering artists from the region and beyond an internationally recognised platform for exhibition and experimentation.