Art season is officially upon us. The UAE's cultural schedule for the month of March has been getting busier each year, to the point it is now habitually referred to as 'March madness'. The opening salvo came this weekend, with the return of the Sharjah Biennial. At the press preview, excited throngs of tote-bag carrying guests drifted back and forth through the narrow alleyways of Sharjah's old town, keen not to miss any of the artworks now occupying parts of the labyrinthine historical neighbourhood. Until June 5th, SB12 presents works by over 50 artists from 25 countries, loosely based around the theme The Past, The Present, The Possible. Here are a few photos and quotes from opening day:
Hoor Al Qasimi on site-specific works at the biennial:
Eungie Joo on the biennial's theme*:
* Joo has said many times that the theme – The Past, The Present, The Possible – stems from a conversation she had with artist Danh Vo (more on him below) in 2013 about the potential of contemporary art to venture beyond current states of social and political confinement.
End of take one. There is simply too much going on at SB12 to take it all in in one afternoon. Apart from showing art in Sharjah's heritage area and at the Sharjah Art Museum, SB12 also runs several satellite spaces, including warehouses in Port Khalid (across the harbour) and, further afield, at the quirky 'Flying Saucer' building on the outskirts of Sharjah and an abandoned ice factory in Kalba. All of which I am very much looking forward to exploring – and reporting back on – very soon.