Sharjah, UAE
March 10-June 12, 2017

●October 15, 2016: Launch of SB13 School, a year-long educational programme in Sharjah
●October 15, 2016: Launch of a digital research platform titled chip-ship
●January 8, 2017: Off-site project in Dakar (around the theme of water)
●March 10 – 14, 2017: Opening of Sharjah Biennial 13 Act I, featuring the SB13 exhibition and programme in Sharjah; exhibition runs through June 12, 2017
●May 13, 2017: Off-site project in Istanbul (around the theme of crops)
●August 10, 2017: Off-site project in Ramallah (around the theme of earth)
●October 15, 2017: Off-site project in Beirut (around the theme of culinary)
●October 19, 2017: Sharjah Biennial 13 Act II, culminating exhibitions and programmes in Beirut

SB13 curator, Christine Tohme, draws on her informal networks and personal bonds to critically rethink the role of the biennial. Rearranging and expanding Sharjah Biennial’s structure–both in terms of time and space–Tohme questions the format of large-scale, centralised exhibitions with a vision that is dynamic, discursive and locally rooted. Her vital interventions take place against the backdrop of infrastructural fragility within regional institutions, and channel friendships and collaborations–a practicality which has been necessary for the survival of many art landscapes, institutions and individuals.

Underway since the launch in October 2016 of SB13 School, a yearlong educational programme focusing on local infrastructures and empowering various communities in western, central and eastern Sharjah, and ‘chip-ship’, a web-based collaborative research platform with programmes running through October 2017, Tamawuj extends far beyond Act I in Sharjah (March 10-June 12, 2017). Tohme draws on Sharjah’s unique positioning in the region in order to expand the biennial through various nodes, inviting four ‘interlocutors’ to create varied permutations of artistic conversation and production across four other sites: Dakar, Senegal; Ramallah, Palestine; Istanbul, Turkey; and Beirut, Lebanon.

These localities were selected not for their geopolitical attributes, but rather for the long-standing affiliations, as well as the common history and vision, Tohme shares with the interlocutors. These four actors will each envision and conceive a different programme, rooted in their local context and engaging with a particular keyword, to which a body of researchers, artists and thinkers will also respond. The thematic focus of SB13 is grounded in the four keywords water, crops, earth and culinary, which form the foundations of social interaction and exchange. Between 8 and 9 January 2017, artist Kader Attia will launch the first off-site project around water in Dakar, a workshop taking place at the Cheikh Anta Diop University (UCAD); curator Zeynep Oz will lead the Istanbul programme related to crops (May 13, 2017); curator Lara Khalidi will address the subject of earth in Ramallah (August 10, 2017); and Ashkal Alwan will organise the closing Act II of the biennial alongside a project around the keyword of the culinary, both in Beirut (October 15, 2017).

Just as the thematic keywords are porous and feed into one another, SB13 places researchers and interlocutors in conversation with one another, and with Sharjah. Its multi-city, multi-part programmes are envisaged as infrastructures to channel knowledge transmission and information sharing between artists, curators, editors, researchers and the general public. This fluidity of knowledge irrigates new, enduring terrains of collaboration and references the threefold meaning of Tamawuj: a rising and falling in waves; a flowing, swelling, surging or fluctuation; and a wavy, undulating appearance, outline or form