The fifteenth edition of the Sharjah Biennial, organized by the Sharjah Art Foundation, is underway until June 11, 2023. This edition, entitled “Thinking History in the Present”, was conceived by Okwui Enwezor, who has since passed away, and who deeply marked the contemporary art world with his visionary approach. The Biennial brings together more than 150 artists from over 70 countries, who will present their work in 16 venues in the emirate of Sharjah.
For Okwui Enwezor, the exhibition of contemporary art is a way to address history, politics and society in our world today. He saw his participation in the Sharjah Biennial as an opportunity to reflect on the history of the Biennial and its role in the production and presentation of contemporary art relevant to our times.
As part of the Biennial, Okwui Enwezor proposed to commission 30 new artworks to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Sharjah Biennial. In response to this request, 30 artists were invited to produce new works. Among them are renowned artists such as Isaac Julien, Steve McQueen, Mona Hatoum, Lubaina Himid and Kerry James Marshall.
More than 150 artists from different cultures will build on Okwui Enwezor’s idea of a postcolonial constellation to offer examples of critical reimagining of history and the present. Participating artists will offer unique perspectives that connect regions, histories and practices. In addition to the exhibition, a program of films, music and performances will be announced at a later date.
The Sharjah Biennial is an important platform for contemporary art in the region and has influenced the evolution of institutions and biennials around the world. Okwui Enwezor has left an important legacy in the art world, and this edition of the Sharjah Biennial is a tribute to his visionary work. Visitors to the Biennial will be able to view a wide variety of contemporary artworks, created by artists from different backgrounds, that present unique perspectives on history and the present.