March - June 2014
Bait Al Shamsi, SAF Art Spaces
The March Project is a group exhibition, showcasing seven newly commissioned, site-specific artworks. The show is the result of an educational residency program for early career artists that the Sharjah Art Foundation launched for the first time at the end of 2013; it opened at SAF Art Spaces in parallel to the annual March Meeting. The residency program aims to offer artists opportunities to research, realize, and present site-specific works through a series of professional development courses, seminars, exhibitions, site visits, and talks led by art practitioners over several months. SAF director Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi curated the pilot program and resulting exhibition and invited seven artists enrolled in art programs in the UK, Egypt, and Bahrain to participate.
In her piece titled "Sawalef" (Tales), Noor Al Bastaki chose to create a dialogue between Sharjah and Bahrain, her home country, in an attempt to discover the similarities and differences between the two through conversations she held at coffee shops in both locations. Al Bastaki re-presents this dialogue through a video installation that is designed in the shape of a cafe.
UK-based artist Frank Harris created a fascinating installation titled "Spaceship Sharjah," which reflects the many faces making up the city through a number of camera obscuras and pinhole cameras.
In "Homeostasis," British artist Holly Hendry chose to comment on modern ventilation systems and their impact on a city`s architectural design.
Egyptian artist Ahmed Fouad Rageb followed a different approach in an untitled piece, playing the personal stories and views of SAF staff members through twenty radio transmitters installed in the foundation`s corridors.
Two additional Egyptian artists took part in the program: Nourine Shenawy and Eman Youniss. In her piece "Closed Letter," Shenawy explores the final thoughts that arise before one falls asleep. She first asked participants to document them then reproduced their responses on cardboard paper in what seems like a fully censored message when seen from a distance. Youniss chose to share bits and pieces from her childhood through "The Sacred Room," where she re-created the bedroom of her grandfather with all its details.
Finally, Brazilian artist Marcela Florido presented a series of large oil paintings inspired by the landscape of Sharjah.
This video documents the work of the seven artists and includes interviews with Al Bastaki, Rageb, and Harris, where they discuss the processes they followed in realizing their individual projects.
[This video is produced by Medrar TV and is featured in partnership with Jadaliyya Culture.]