The Sharjah Art Foundation has named over 150 artists hailing from more than 70 countries that will participate in its highly anticipated 2023 Sharjah Biennial, which was conceived by the late curator Okwui Enwezor and curated by the organization’s director Hoor Al Qasimi.
The exhibition, titled “Thinking Historically in the Present,” will run from February 7–June 11, 2023 at some 16 venues across Sharjah, including “a vegetable market, power station, and former kindergarten,” according to a press release.
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Almost a year ago, the Sharjah Biennial announced that it would delay its 15th edition to 2023, citing “the relentless devastation of COVID-19 in many parts of the world, as well as the uneven access to vaccines and restrictions to travel still in place.” The exhibition had already been postponed a year from 2021 to 2022 when this announcement was made.
To mark its 30th anniversary, the biennial previously announced that it had commissioned 30 artists, per Enwezor’s original vision, to create new work for the exhibition, including John Akomfrah, María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Carolina Caycedo, Coco Fusco, Mona Hatoum, Lubaina Himid, Isaac Julien, Ibrahim Mahama, Kerry James Marshall, Steve McQueen, Wangechi Mutu, Philippe Parreno, Doris Salcedo, Yinka Shonibare, Nari Ward, and Carrie Mae Weems.
Outside these well-known names, the extensive artist list is largely devoid of international artists who regularly appear on the biennial circuit.
Among the closely watched artists slated to take part in the biennial are Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme, Farah Al Qasimi, Brook Andrew, Diedrick Brackens, Cao Fei, Theaster Gates, David Hammons, Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Joiri Minaya, Tracey Moffat, Okwui Okpokwasili, Umar Rashid, Wendy Red Star, Veronica Ryan, and Mary Sibande.
In a statement, Al Qasimi said, “Okwui saw Sharjah Biennial’s 30-year anniversary as an opportunity to reflect on the role that biennials serve in the ecosystem of contemporary art, particularly the Sharjah Biennial itself and the broader Foundation that grew from it. With gratitude to Okwui and the ambitious intellectual project he conceived, we are organising a Biennial that builds on and honours his vision to probe the past, present, and future role that biennials and institutions, including the Sharjah Biennial and the Foundation can serve.”
The current artist list, which is still in formation, follows below.
Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme
Jawad Al Malhi
Monira Al Qadiri
Farah Al Qasimi
Mounira Al Solh
Au Sow Yee
Pablo Bartholomew and Richard Bartholomew
Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons
Iftikhar Dadi and Elizabeth Dadi
Tania El Khoury
Nabil El Makhloufi
Nina Fischer and Maroan el Sani
Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige
Laura Huertas Millán
Reena Saini Kallat
Kiluanji Kia Henda
Emily Kame Kngwarreye
Nusra Latif Qureshi
Lee Kai Chung
Kerry James Marshall
Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi
Pak Khawateen Painting Club
Anita Pouchard Serra
Jasbir Puar and Dima Srouji
Wendy Red Star
Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum
The Living and the Dead Ensemble
Hank Willis Thomas
Akeim Toussaint Buck
Carrie Mae Weems