• News
  • Nov 07, 2017

Zoe Butt, Omar Kholeif and Claire Tancons Appointed As Curators of Sharjah Biennial 14

The Sharjah Art Foundation has announced that Zoe Butt, Omar Kholeif and Claire Tancons will be the curators of Sharjah Biennial 14 (SB14), scheduled to open in March 2019. The Biennial will carry the theme “Leaving the Echo Chamber,” and will scrutinize art production in an era when human destruction and climate degradation threaten material culture.

Sharjah Art Foundation director Hoor Al Qasimi said of the new appointments, “Butt, Kholeif and Tancons bring incredibly different perspectives to these questions, and together represent the complexity of challenges faced by today’s artists and society as a whole.”

SB14 will be comprised of three exhibitions across the Emirate of Sharjah, each curated by one of the newly appointed figures, with fresh commissions, installations, performances and film screenings.

Butt’s presentation is titled “Journey Beyond the Arrow,” and will look at the tools that have aided or impeded the survival of humanity, covering spiritual and cultural customs, technological and political processes, as well as the impacts of colonialism, conflict and extremism, drawing on the curator's base of knowledge of Southeast Asia. In a message to ArtAsiaPacific, Butt said, “Southeast Asia possesses a complex set of historical narratives with relevance and impact on communities not often in focus like those in Japan, Ghana and Senegal. Similarly, the historical imagination of the ‘Middle East’ has had significant ties to Asia,” referring to age-old maritime trade routes. The curator hopes that her exhibition will reveal “how the current geopolitical configuration of the world is a dilemma that deserves longer memory,” and demonstrate that artists can reveal the necessity of humanity’s diversity.

Kholeif’s section in SB14 will be an exhibition titled “Making New Time,” which examines our collective and singular experiences, and how those encounters can be altered by time. Tancons will curate “Look for Me All Around You,” which begins with the idea that what is being “looked for” might not be what we are “looking at,” and considers the increasingly common sentiments of dispossession and diaspora.

Butt is the artistic director of The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre, as well as a member of the Asian Art Council at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. Kholeif is the Manilow senior curator and director of global initiatives at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Tancons is a scholar of postcolonial politics and has been a curator for the biennial exhibitions in Gwangju, New Orleans, Cape Town and Göteborg.

Brady Ng is reviews editor at ArtAsiaPacific.

To read more of ArtAsiaPacific’s articles, visit our Digital Library.