2015.10.01 Thu, by
Christine Tohmé appointed Curator of Sharjah Biennial 13, opening March 2017

[Press Release]

Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF) announces the selection of Christine Tohmé as the Curator of Sharjah Biennial 13, opening March 2017.

Beirut-based curator Tohmé is the founding Director of Ashkal Alwan, the Lebanese Association for Plastic Arts, established in 1993. Ashkal Alwan is a non-profit organisation that supports contemporary art through numerous initiatives including the multidisciplinary platform Home Works: A Forum of Cultural Practices, initiated by Tohmé in 2001. Other initiatives include Video Works, a grant and screening platform supporting the development, production and diffusion of projects by artists and filmmakers residing in Lebanon, created in 2006, and Home Workspace Program, a tuition-free, interdisciplinary study programme founded in 2011.

Tohmé was the recipient of a Prince Claus Award in 2006, given in recognition of her achievements in supporting local multidisciplinary art production and art criticism, as well as the 2015 CCS Bard Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial Excellence. She is on the boards of Marsa (Beirut), a sexual health centre providing specialised medical services for at-risk youth and marginalised communities, and SAHA (Istanbul), an association supporting contemporary art from Turkey. The seventh edition of Home Works opens on November 12, 2015.

Sharjah Art Foundation President and Director Sheikha Hoor Al-Qasimi commented, “We are delighted to have this opportunity to work with Christine Tohmé, whose substantial contributions to the development and direction of the cultural landscape of the Middle East have been recognised both regionally and internationally. She has been a close colleague for many years, participating as a speaker in numerous Sharjah Art Foundation March Meetings and acting as jury member for the Sharjah Biennial Prize in 2011. With her deep knowledge and understanding of the region’s art and artists, we are confident that she will bring a compelling vision and perspective to the next Biennial in 2017.”

On being selected, Tohmé adds, “The Sharjah Art Foundation has become a strong and thoughtful voice in a conversation about contemporary art that is taking place not only across the region but internationally as well. The projects the foundation has produced since its inception are now important points of reference in a dialogue among artists and peers all over the world. I am excited to be part of this history, and I look forward to expanding the conversation in 2017.”

Sharjah Art Foundation 2015 programmes
Currently on view at SAF, Light Show explores the experiential and phenomenal aspects of light through over 20 large-scale installations and sculptures that use light to sculpt and shape space. The exhibition includes work by David Batchelor, Jim Campell, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Bill Culbert, Olafur Eliasson, Dan Flavin, Ceal Floyer, Nancy Holt, Jenny Holzer, Ann Veronica Janssens, Brigitte Kowanz, Anthony McCall, François Morellet, Iván Navarro, Katie Paterson, Conrad Shawcross, James Turrell, Leo Villareal and Cerith Wyn Evans. Curated by Dr. Cliff Lauson, Curator, Hayward Gallery, and organised by London’s Hayward Gallery in association with SAF, Light Show will remain on view through December 5 at the SAF Art Spaces.

Upcoming programming includes The Egyptian Surrealists in Global Perspective, an international conference on Egyptian Surrealists at American University in Cairo (AUC) from November 26–28, 2015. Presented in collaboration with the Institute for Comparative Modernities at Cornell University and the Visual Cultures Program at the American University in Cairo (AUC), the conference will focus on the history and evolution of the Egyptian Surrealist group and their interconnected relationship with their Western and international counterparts. The Egyptian Surrealists represent one of the most interesting chapters of modernism from the late 1930s up to the early 1960s. In addition to featuring a concurrent two-volume publication, the conference will be followed by a travelling exhibition entitled When Arts Become Liberty: The Egyptian Surrealists (1938–1965), to be inaugurated at SAF in 2017 in Sharjah, followed by an exhibition in Cairo.

Sharjah Art Foundation’s spring 2016 programme of exhibitions and events will be announced in late 2015. March Meeting 2016 will take place March 13–15.

Photo: Tarek Moukaddem, 2015.

Photo: Tarek Moukaddem, 2015.