March Project at Sharjah Art Foundation

 Frank Harris, Spaceship Sharjah, 2014, installation, wood, lenses and paint

Frank Harris, Spaceship Sharjah, 2014, installation, wood, lenses and paint

Sharjah Art Foundation's March Project features the work of seven young artists who were part of an educational residency programme organised by the foundation. During this residency, the artists had the opportunity to research, realise and present site-specific works through a series of professional development courses, seminars, exhibitions, site visits and talks led by art practitioners over a five month period.

The selected artists included recent graduates from institutions such as Slade School of Fine Art (UK), MASS Alexandria (Egypt), Al Riwaq (Bahrain), Higher Colleges of Technology (UAE) and Zayed University (UAE).

Their work is installed throughout Sharjah Art Foundation Art Spaces and Bait Al Shamsi, in the Arts Area since 16th March 2014 and on till 16th June 2014.  

The works realised in this exhibition draw upon the role of architecture, space and movement in the hybrid culture and society of Sharjah. The interactions in Sharjah between residents and its private and public spaces, as well as the occupation and use of these places, play a central role in these site-specific works installed throughout SAF Art Spaces and Bait Al Shamsi, in the Arts Area.

Here's a video of the works, plus interviews with some of the artists talking about their work (click on "Captions" to watch it with English subtitles).  

Below is the list of artists and detailed information about each installation. Block some time (preferably in the evening since it is very hot during the day), go to Sharjah and walk around the Art Space and Arts Area and enjoy the sights and sounds. 

Noor Al Bastaki - Sawalef (Tales)

2014, installation, video 

Location: SAF Art Spaces, Sharjah Heritage Area 

In this work Noor Al Bastaki explores how society is defined by the public interactions between different types of people. Influenced by Al Majis Al Shaabi, a popular meeting place in the traditional Heart of Sharjah, Al Bastaki’s installation re-creates a local café with synchronised video recordings from coffee shops in both Sharjah and Bahrain. 

Marcela Florido - Contos

2013-2014, oil on canvas, oil and charcoal on paper  

Location: Bait Al Shamsi, Sharjah Arts Area  

The formal and aesthetic decisions are a direct response to Marcela Florido’s experience in Sharjah: the bold use of raw pigment on canvas and the predominance of hot colours such as orange, pink, yellow and red, the contrast between light and shadow reflect the landscape of Sharjah through the medium of painting.  

Ahmed Fouad Rageb - Untitled

2014, installation, 20 radio transmitters, 20 mp3 players and 5 radio receivers 

Location: SAF Art Spaces, Sharjah Heritage Area  

Ahmed Fouad Rageb's 22 radio transmitters are distributed around SAF Art Spaces, transmitting pre-recorded audio interviews with a range of Sharjah Art Foundation staff members, who have a strong relationship and familiarity with the area.

The viewer moves through the spaces catching different radio frequencies, streaming different ‘channels of consciousness’, examining the relationship between the subconscious mind and the space. Rageb’s work is inspired by the numerous Sharjah radio stations that stream in different languages, each addressing a specific demographic. 

Frank Harris - Spaceship Sharjah

2014, installation, wood, lenses, paint 

Location: SAF Art Spaces, Sharjah Heritage Area

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Frank Harris' Spaceship Sharjah invites the viewer to enter and consider potential futures. Shaped like a rocket, its faceted sides facing the Corniche, the local mosque and the Heritage Area, it sits between some of the most important influences on any society: the outside world, religion and tradition.

Using a camera obscura, the oldest device for capturing the world as an image, Spaceship Sharjah combines and warps the images of these symbolic structures, posing the question: "what aspects of our current society will we take with us into the future and how will they combine, evolve or disappear?"

Spaceship Sharjah represents the process in which culture, religion and tradition contend with each other, constantly negotiating, combining and evolving, by capturing and distorting images of one particular location through multiple camera obscuras mounted inside a space shuttle bound for the future. Upon entering the structure the viewer sees "where shall we go?" painted on the steps, putting them in the position of a modern day Noah.  

(images via frankbuildsthings.tumblr.com)

Holly Hendry - Homeostasis

2014, installation, metal pipes, pillows, wadding, meranti wood, fan  

Location: SAF Art Spaces, Sharjah Heritage Area  

Fascinated with the history of these architectural forms and their function, Holly Hendry uses the traditional form of the Barjeel as the conceptual framework in this installation. Historically, the Barjeel was used as a form of ventilation, working as a mechanism to capture and circulate air through a building. With modern air conditioning, the towers have become decorative features representing a local and historical identity. In Homeostasis, Hendry creates an oversized replica of an air conditioning system’s inner workings offering a commentary of the UAE’s modernisation.

The overall aesthetics of the work speaks of the body, conceptually and physically attempting to turn the architecture into a form of fragmented human form. A wooden framework supports aluminium ductwork and acts as the ‘bones’ of our private domains. Wedged between the wooden structures and the metal ducting, oversized cushions represent domesticity and the warmth of home, creating a visual tension within the installation.  

Nourine Shenawy - Closed Letter

2014, installation, paper, cardboard, foil, pencil  

Location: Bait Al Shamsi, Sharjah Arts Area 

In Closed Letter, Nourine Shenawy asked people for short texts that describe their thoughts before falling asleep. Printed and handwritten in black foil or pencil on black paper, from a distance the work appears to be an oversized ‘censored’ letter. On closer inspection the words become legible and reveal to the viewer these personal thoughts.  

Eman Youniss  - The Sacred Room

2014, installation 

Location: Bait Al Shamsi, Sharjah Arts Area 

The Sacred Room is a replica of Eman Youniss’ grandfather’s room—his private domain, complete with original objects and belongings. During his lifetime, Youniss was the only one allowed to enter the room and invade her grandfather’s privacy and solitude. This work recreates the room from the eyes of a child and offers viewers a glimpse into the artist’s personal life. 

Location map of Sharjah Art Foundation and exhibition spaces

Map of the Sharjah Art Foundation Art Space

www.sharjahart.org

www.sharjahart.org/exhibitions-events/current-upcoming-events/march-project

www.nooralbastaki.com

www.marcelaflorido.com

rgbrgbrgbrgb.tumblr.com

www.frankbuildsthings.tumblr.com

www.hollyhendry.com

www.nourineshenawy.wordpress.com

[all images via sharjahart.org unless where stated]