Press Release
Sharjah Biennial 9 inaugurates today 19th March
Dates:March 16 until May 16 2009Additional Information can also be found on: http://www.sharjahbiennial.org/Or contact: Mariam W. Al Dabbagh,Head of CommunicationsMariam.aldabbagh@sharjahbiennial.org
Sharjah Biennial 9 inaugurates today 19th March
Sharjah, United Arab Emirates- Sharjah's Department of Culture and Information hosts the 9th Sharjah Biennial from March 16 until May 16 2009. Under the Patronage of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, ruler of Sharjah and under the auspices of Biennial Director, HH Sheika Hoor al Qasimi, overseen by renowned Curators Isabel Carlos and Tarek Abou El Fetouh and led by Artistic Director Jack Persekian, the 9th edition of the Sharjah Biennial transcends central themes and pre-cast frameworks, exhibiting mainly a wide range of works selected by open invitation. The Sharjah Biennial has since its inauguration in 1993 served to connect artists, institutions and organisations and to foster artistic dialogue and exchange. It ranks amongst the most established and prominent cultural events in the Middle East.'The Sharjah Biennial 9, unlike many other Biennials, imposes no geographical classifications on displaying work,' says Hoor Al Qasimi, Director of the Sharjah Biennial 9. ' We have also decided not to limit the selection process to a wish - list of participants, but have opted instead to consider work submitted by artists and non - artists alike, who were brave enough to take up the challenge and respond to an open invitation to realise their ideas.'The SB9 program comprises the exhibition programme titled 'Provisions for the Future' curated by Isabel Carlos, and the performance and film programme 'Past of the Coming Days' curated by Tarek Abou El Fetouh. The entire city of Sharjah will be offered to artists for context - specific work, and other SB9 activities will take place across a wide range of venues including the Sharjah Art Museum, Sharjah Contemporary Arab Art Museum, Arts Area of Sharjah and the Heritage Area of Sharjah.'Sharjah is a geographic and cultural meeting place, where the notion of future is permanently evoked,' comments Isabel Carlos, Curator of the Sharjah Biennial 9. 'More than a presentation of a global selection of art works, 'Provisions For The Future' aims to be a place of production and development of artworks in the context of the city of Sharjah.' As well as exhibiting works by more than 80 artists from around the world, there are a number of events and programmes designed to support and nurture creativity for local and visiting participants. These include the March Meeting, which is due to take place ahead of the launch of the ninth Sharjah Biennial between March 16 and 18 at the Beit al Shamsi. The March Meeting is a global gathering of art professionals and institutions who will be meeting to debate various topics and related issues dealing with the production and dissemination of art in the Arab world. An open-access event, there will be presentations by key speakers, as well as a programme of workshops and group sessions. With over 40 institutions, from the Arab world and beyond present, the stage is set for a far-reaching and in-depth analysis and debate on the current state and future of the Middle East's rapidly expanding art scene.'The Sharjah Biennial has a track record as one of the few art institutions in the region leading a programme of support for artists' productions,' explains Jack Persekian, Artistic Director of the Sharjah Biennial 9 . 'This support needs to be sensibly extended to artists operating in the region and those working elsewhere who can positively contribute to the crucial dialogue amongst artists and practitioners, the exchange of experience and the progress of knowledge.' This year's March Meeting will build on the achievements of the 2008 event. The agenda will encourage participants to take stock of the phenomenal growth in artistic infrastructure within the region during the intervening years, scrutinise the internal and external factors affecting art production and debate possible pathways for development in the future.Organisers have arranged the three-day symposium's agenda along a theoretical structure that will successively examine in depth, shared contemporary issues in Arab art, with an emphasis on analysing the mechanics of art education, curatorial practices, writing, translation and art publishing in the Middle East. In addition to the March Meeting, Sharjah Biennial, and in collaboration with the International Curators Forum and Tate will also host the Curators Workshop which is a week -long series of seminars and workshops for emerging contemporary art curators from the Middle East. The programme will bring together more than 25 curators from across the region and the UK to participate together in a programme of intensive workshops from 16 till 20 March.It is also worth mentioning that Sharjah Biennial 9 will host Capital of Arab Culture Handover Ceremony on 16 March 2009 at the Cultural Palace, Sharjah. This significant event officially marks the passing of the symbolic torch which transfers the Capital of Arab Culture from Damascus to Jerusalem. This event will be held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi.The ceremony will be conducted by Dr. Rafiq Al Husseini, Secretary General of Jerusalem Capital of Arab Culture 2009 and Dr. Hanan Kassab Hassan, Secretary General of Damascus Capital of Culture 2008.Jack Persekian, comments "Deeply symbolic, this Handover Ceremony is a poignant gesture of the cherishing and sharing of cultural life in the Middle East. Sharjah Biennial 9 is honoured to be the host of this important and historic event which reflects the Biennial's ambition of defining a rich and strong future for art in this Region by forming a unique intellectual and creative base from which the ideas and talent of tomorrow can take flight."He also adds: "That this event should take place in Sharjah is telling, given that the Emirate was the Capital of Arab Culture in 1998 and has worked ever since to continue, strengthen and promote the dialogue of traditional and contemporary culture within the Region on a daily basis. The Sharjah Biennial is an excellent example of this - an event which, under the patronage of HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, has firmly established itself as a renowned and ambitious platform for Arab and International contemporary art."

Ana Vidigal - Sharjah Biennial 09