The Sharjah Biennial 13 Tamawuj (SB13) aims to challenge the ideals of large-scale, centralised exhibitions with a vision that is dynamic, discursive and locally rooted, which will include artists such as Noor Abuarafeh, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Fathi Zamroud. Curator Christine Tohme, who is also the director of the nonprofit organisation, Ashkal Alwan, draws on her informal networks and personal bonds to critically rethink the role of SB13. By rearranging and expanding the structure of the Sharjah Biennial –both in terms of time and space – Tohme uses the backdrop of infrastructural fragility within regional institutions, to channel artistic friendships and collaborations.
Launch in October 2016, SB13 has provided a yearlong educational programme focusing on local infrastructures and empowering various communities in western, central and eastern Sharjah. Additionally, it has also presented 'chip-ship', a web-based collaborative research platform with programmes running through to October 2017. By drawing on Sharjah’s unique positioning in the region, Tohme expands the biennial through various nodes by inviting four ‘interlocutors’ to create varied permutations of artistic conversation and production across four other sites: Senegal, Palestine, Turkey and Lebanon.
Selected not only for their geopolitical attributes, but also for their long-standing affiliations, Tohme focuses on the common history and vision Sharjah shares with the chosen interlocutors. With the thematic focus of SB13 being four key elements: water, crops, earth and culinary, the biennale will provide audiences with a poignant commentary on the foundations of social interaction and exchange. Between 8 and 9 January 2017, artist Kader Attia will launch the first off-site project around water in Dakar, a workshop taking place at the Cheikh Anta Diop University (UCAD); curator Zeynep Oz will lead the Istanbul programme related to crops (May 13, 2017); curator Lara Khalidi will address the subject of earth in Ramallah (August 10, 2017); and Ashkal Alwan will organise the closing Act II of the biennial alongside a project around the keyword of the culinary, both in Beirut (October 15, 2017).
For more information on the Sharjah Biennial 13 visit sharjahart.org