SHARJAH BIENNIAL 11
Day One : The 11th Sharjah Biennial opened yesterday morning in the presence of H.H Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al-Qasimi who was escorted through the exhibition spaces by Japanese curator Yuko Hasegawa. (Hasegawa is no stranger to Australians through her early involvement in Asia Pacific Triennials). The paparazzi were also there jostling with actual paparazzi to get pictures of the highly esteemed Sheikh of Sharjah and the curator. While it is difficult to know where to begin this story – suffice it to say (for the time being) that this was quite a glamorous event. Egyptian artist, Wael Shawky’s brilliant performance piece, Dictums 10:20 provided a scintillating splash of local culture to the opening. Kicking of in the Heritage or Historical area of Sharjah the Biennial takes place in Calligraphy Square, beautiful older spaces, the Arts Area and in the brand new Sharjah Art Foundation Art Spaces which offer artists clean crisp adaptable spaces with lots of natural light bouncing off the white buildings outside. More than 100 artists architects, filmmakers, musicians and performers are participating in a program of exhibitions and events that “reassess the Westerncentrism of knowledge in modern times and reconsiders the relationship between the Arab world, Asia, the Far East, through North Africa and Latin America. But what of the art we can here you say ! After only one day it looks promising, however, this is a complex environment and deserving of some in depth discussion. This is a vastly different environment for the paparazzi and as a result they have channeled Henri Cartier Bresson with a more “documentary” approach ….. Sharjah Biennial 11 at various locations, Sharjah United Arab Emirates 11 March – 14 May.