The Organising committee of the Sharjah Children Biennial announced the details of its fourth edition in a press conference held at the Children Center in Mughayder, Sharjah. Scheduled to be held between December 9, 2014 and February 9, 2015, the Sharjah Children Biennial, received 1066 artworks from 11 Arab and non-Arab countries, by children aged 6-18 years old.
The Sharjah Children Biennial is held once every two years, under the gracious patronage of Wife of His Highness, Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, and in collaboration with Sharjah Museums Department.
The press conference was attended by Reem Binkaram, Acting Director of Sharjah Children's Centres, President of Sharjah Children Biennial, Aisha Deemas, Director of Executive Affairs at SMD, Nasir Nasrallah, General Curator of SCB, Fatima Al Suwaidi, Senior Manager-Organizational Development at Sharjah Islamic Bank, the event’s golden sponsor; Dr Khalid Al Midfa, Director General of Sharjah Media Corporation; as well as a number of journalists and local and international media representatives.
In her speech during the press conference, Reem Binkaram said that it was thanks to the patronage graciously extended by HH Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, that Sharjah Children Biennial has become the first of its kind event in the UAE and the GCC region, achieving international recognition for the efforts is exerts in attracting and supporting young talents.
She also remarked that the artistic workshops held during and in parallel to the Biennial this year focused on promoting Emirati artistic presence, both in terms of participating artists who ran the workshops, or in their focus on Emirati children in participating artwork, without of course neglecting other children from other nationalities. Adding that the organizers were also keen on including all social sectors, including special needs children who became part of the main competition, not a separate category as in previous editions. Binkaram highlighted that this year was special due to the unique participation of the Children from Al Tuwaam Hospital Children Cancer ward, whose artwork was the highlight and focus of the Biennial promotional campaign.
Binkaram also mentioned that the organising committee of Sharjah Children Biennial worked to include various art forms, aiming at developing these forms amongst the children. These forms included sculpture, photography, 3D models, and using acrylic painting techniques. The Department was also successful in the selection this year's theme "Questions", which forms a special motif encouraging children to ask their question, feed their curiosity, as well as express themselves through art.
BinKaram concluded by thanking all artists who conducted the workshops in a professional and interesting manner, as well as Sharjah Children Centers and SBC staff, and all public and private organisations that extended their support to the event, including Sharjah Museums Department as Strategic Partner, Sharjah Islamic Bank as Gold Sponsor, Sharjah Roads and Transport Authority as Silver Sponsor, Bee'ah, the Sharjah Environment Co. and Sharjah Cooperative Society as Bronze Sponsors, in addition to Sharjah Media Corporation as Media Sponsor and Sharjah Business Women Council as a Business Partner. Supporting sponsors included Al Zahia, Knowledge without Borders, Anfasic Dokhoon, Mum Mum Restaurant, FUNN Foundation, Sharjah Ladies Club, Department of Culture and Information in Sharjah, Sajaya Young Ladies of Sharjah, Catwalk Cow, 'ANA' Children Cancer Initiative, Women Sports Department, Go Glocal, Ductac, and Mega Mall.
Emirati artist Nasir Nasrallah explored the details of SCB’s fourth edition, highlighting that total artworks submitted were 1066, arising from 29 workshops held during the period between January and October, 2014, all revolving around the main theme "Questions", which provoked the realization of natural inquiry in the form of art, be it about imagination, science, Fairytales and Legends, arts, technology, design, philosophy, environment, Architecture, languages, Curriculum Vitas, and Journals.
Nasrallah also highlighted that after receiving the 1066 applications, the screening committee started the evaluation process based on strict standards, such as age group, compliance with this year's theme, and adherence to one of the 10 topics chosen for this year's edition. Standards also included the artistic aspect, especially in terms of ideas and techniques. Nasrallah also explained that participating children were placed into three age categories: 6-9 years old, 10-13 years old, and 14-18 years old. Works were also categorized into individual and group works, based on number of participants. The final shortlist included 550 pieces, which will make it to the final show at Sharjah Art Museum for the first month of the Biennial, and at the Children Center in Mughayder for the second.
Nasrallah highlighted that the final short list includes artwork for various fine art forms, and that they come from various countries around the world. While the UAE naturally occupies the highest rank in number of participating works with 428, the Czech Republic comes second with 45, followed by Jordan with 17, Pakistan with 16, South Korea with 12, Egypt with 11, Sudan with 9, USA with 7, South Africa and Australia with 2 each, and one participation from Syria.
He added: "Participating works were distributed on 32 main halls in 6 sections, each section dedicated to one questions word, such as where? How? When? Who? What? And Why? We also organised a number of workshops in parallel to the Biennial, in collaboration with a number of leading cultural institutes in the UAE, in addition to a mobile exhibition planned to visit a number of key shopping centers, cultural organizations, and children centres. Such a mobile exhibition visited Manarat Al Saadiyat in previous years, and achieved great success, which encouraged us to plan visits to Dubai, RAK (Masafi), and various parts of Sharjah.
Commenting on the exhibition, Manal Ataya, Director General of Sharjah Museums Department, said: “The Sharjah Children’s Biennial is a landmark event in regional community culture. We’re delighted to be part of it, and to collaborate with Sharjah Children Centres in organising the 2014–15 staging. The Biennial is an important and vibrant occasion – the first such event in the GCC, dedicated entirely to children’s art. It’s also a wonderful chance for SMD to demonstrate our desire to support the children of today on their path to being the leaders of tomorrow. That path includes having opportunities to be creative, to express thoughts and emotions through art, and to make positive long-lasting connections with peers and across cultures. Sharjah Children’s Biennial delivers all those. It also strives to encourage children to open their eyes to art, and develop an appreciation of the artistic expressions of others. This powerful event is certainly going from strength to strength, and we look forward to a successful and rewarding fourth edition.”
Fatima Al Suwaidi, Senior Manager-Organizational Development at Sharjah Islamic Bank said:"Our sponsorship of this remarkable event shows our continued commitment to our society in the UAE and Sharjah in particular, in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, who has always shown great care and gracious support to his sons and daughters, and also in line with the directives of his wife, HH Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs. It suffices to say that Sharjah is the pioneering Emirate in child-friendly environments.”
On his part, Dr Khalid Al Midfa, Director General of Sharjah Media Corporation, expressed deep gratitude to the wife of H.H. Ruler of Sharjah, HH Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed AL Qasimi, for her great efforts in supporting child development via the Biennial. "We are honoured to join this remarkable event and help in building future generations on a sound foundation, while enhancing Sharjah's position as a perpetual capital of Islamic culture," he added.
The organising committee of the Sharjah Children Biennial had invited journalists and media representatives to a press conference, in order to reveal details about SCB, where guests were surprised to see they had an art workshop waiting for them, with an opportunity to express their own creativity, which helped as bridge to the Biennial and its spirit.
Sharjah Children Biennial aims at activating the art movement and enriching children talents in various art forms, including drawing, sculpture, installations, photography, and multimedia.