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03 June 2023

A Century in Flux: Chapter II at Sharjah Art Museum, goes digital

Photo: WAM


A virtual tour of "A Century in Flux – Chapter II" exhibition has been launched by Barjeel Art Foundation, BAF, in collaboration with Sharjah Museums Authority, SMA.

To mark the occasion of International Museums Day, which falls on 18th May, and as part of the long-standing partnership between the two entities, BAF is displaying over 100 artworks at Sharjah Art Museum.

The online exhibition, which can be accessed on
https://bit.ly/2YVSAEd showcases as many as 126 pieces of art that demonstrate a broad range of styles, techniques, and thematic directions that have marked art practices in Arab countries between the 1880s and 1980s.

The show invites visitors to not only enjoy the new works on display but to also reflect on the selection strategy, pose critical questions, and think about the broader issues of inclusivity.

The second iteration of the exhibition aims to address notions of institutional representation and, in particular, to confront the question of gender inequality in the art world.

Through a gender-balanced display, the show aims to catalyse conversations and debate on reasons behind the underrepresentation of particular individuals and groups in the museum context and most importantly how we can affect change.

"As we become more reliant on technology to help facilitate how people experience art during the current situation. This virtual exhibition will initiate much-needed debates beyond the limits of place and time on topics such as that of gender representation in museums that are pertinent and must continue to be emphasized in the curatorial discourse," said Manal Ataya, Director-General of the SMA.

Works of prolific artists from the Arab World, including Jewad Selim, Shakir Hassan Al Said, Abdul Qader Al Rais, Etel Adnan, Mona Hatoum, Gazbia Sirry, and other lesser-known artists are featured in the second chapter of the exhibition that was first launched last November.

While many of the featured artists in the show are members of pioneering art movements and collectives, others are not so well-known. In the words of Art Collector and Founder of BAF, Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, these artists may not have significantly "influenced art history in the 1950s and 1960s a lot of them were unknown but to say that they never did work is also unfair."

"We invite our audiences in the UAE and around the world to take a virtual walkthrough of our current exhibition at the Sharjah Art Museum, A Century in Flux: Chapter II," Al Qassemi said.

He stated that the show, which draws together artists from across the Arab World, is a treasury of histories, layered political accounts, and moving reflections on the human condition.

"I am very pleased that it can now be experienced online by the wider public across the globe," added the art collector and founder of BAF.

Ways in which the region’s artists have responded to political events and the human condition over a tumultuous twentieth century were focused on in the exhibition’s first chapter.

This initiative is part of SMA's continuous efforts to reach out and engage members of the public during the Coronavirus lockdown.