Artistic Unity: Art in the UAE: Sharjah Art Foundation

This article appeared in The Artistic Unity Issue #67 which was dedicated to the art scene in the UAE in which we unravel the threads of unity by exploring the perspectives of various stakeholders within the UAE’s art community. Through insightful interviews with galleries, art institutions, and auction houses, a vivid mosaic emerged, depicting how unity has been woven into the fabric of the art scene.

Hassan Sharif, various works, mixed media installation, dimensions variable.. Hassan Sharif, I Am The Single Work Artist, 2017 installation view. Image Courtesy of Sharjah Art Foundation.
Hassan Sharif, various works, mixed media installation, dimensions variable.. Hassan Sharif, I Am The Single Work Artist, 2017 installation view. Image Courtesy of Sharjah Art Foundation.

Established in 2009, the Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF) has transformed into a vibrant cultural institution, tracing its roots back to the inaugural Sharjah Biennial in 1993. Under the leadership of President and Director Hoor Al Qasimi since 2003, the foundation has emerged as a focal point for contemporary art, hosting a diverse array of exhibitions, performances, film screenings and educational programmes throughout the year. SAF, renowned for initiatives such as the Sharjah Biennial and March Meeting, plays a pivotal role in nurturing collaboration, research and artistic excellence in the Middle East.

Acting as a catalyst for cultural exchange, SAF supports artists through initiatives like residencies, grants and commissions. The foundation’s unwavering commitment to education and public engagement reflects its belief in the transformative power of art within communities. With support from government funding, non-profits, sponsors and patrons, SAF continues to expand, adapt, and inspire, evident in its growing collection and diverse programmes. The adaptive reuse of historical and modern buildings underscores SAF’s dedication to preserving Sharjah’s heritage while embracing contemporary expressions in art.
Looking ahead, the foundation remains steadfast in its mission to promote a participatory approach to art, enriching lives and contributing to the global cultural dialogue.

Hassan Sharif, Copper 2, 2014, copper tube, 33 x 33 x 29 cm. Hassan Sharif, I Am The Single Work Artist, 2017 installation view. Courtesy of Hassan Sharif Estate. Image Courtesy of Sharjah Art Foundation.
Hassan Sharif, Copper 2, 2014, copper tube, 33 x 33 x 29 cm. Hassan Sharif, I Am The Single Work Artist, 2017 installation view. Courtesy of Hassan Sharif Estate. Image Courtesy of Sharjah Art Foundation.

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