Sharjah Museums Authority partners with Barjeel Art Foundation

Sharjah Museums Authority partners with Barjeel Art Foundation

Five-year agreement will see the organizations collaborate on a permanent display of artworks as well as educational programmes and seminars.
SMA and BAF share commitment to promoting and fostering an appreciation of art from the region.

SHARJAH, 27 January, 2018: The Sharjah Museums Authority (SMA) and Barjeel Art Foundation (BAF) have signed an agreement to host a long-term hang of renowned artworks from BAF’s collection of modern Arab art over the next five years.

The agreement, signed by HE Manal Ataya, Director General of Sharjah Museums Authority, and Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, Founder of Barjeel Art Foundation, on 25th January will see the two organizations cooperate again after a well received 2016 exhibition of works from the BAF, entitled The Short Century, which made a diverse selection of modern Arab art from the 20th Century accessible to the public.

The event, which is projected to open at the Sharjah Art Museum before 2019, will include 60 to 100 paintings and sculptures by key figures from the modern Arab art scene selected from BAF’s extensive collection. This new long-term hang marks a move away from the smaller more intimate events usually organised by BAF with more pieces on display than ever before.

One significant work which will make its debut in the UAE is a 1968 painting by acclaimed Iraqi artist Dia Azzawi entitled “The Wolf Howls: Memories of a Poet,” which was recently acquired by BAF. Created after the artist met the poet Muzaffar Al Nawab, the painting is based on Al Nawab’s poem “Shamous” and depicts the harrowing scene of a mother retrieving her son’s dead body.

Born in Baghdad in 1939, Azzawi has been creating works since 1964. One of the founding members of the ‘New Vision’ group of Iraqi artists, over the years he has taken inspiration from some of the most important issues affecting the region, including the plight of the Palestinian people, with his works shown extensively both regionally and internationally.

An important social and cultural organisation, BAF has worked to actively encourage young people to take an interest in local and Arab art since 2010. Its move to digitize and upload its entire collection online has helped to make many important works available to a wider, younger and more tech savvy audience around the region and the world.

By hosting educational programmes, including partnerships with domestic and international institutions, BAF has inspired young talent to discover the historical roots of art in the region as well as explore contemporary ideas about its future.

BAF’s founder chose to work with SMA due to the important role it has played in bringing works of artistic and cultural significance to the communities of Sharjah and the UAE and to visitors from all over the world.

Both organisations have played critical roles in shaping Sharjah’s position as a major destination in the global art scene by inviting world famous artists to exhibit in the emirate or, in the case of BAF, by showing work by modern Arab artists in its international exhibition programme.

Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, said: “We are delighted to be working so closely with the Sharjah Museums Authority over the next five years.

“This partnership makes perfect sense for both organisations as they are both dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the arts, especially works from the UAE and the wider region.

“The long-term hang at the end of 2018, as well as events planned for the future, will represent a coming together of each organisation’s collection of historically significant pieces, which share many similarities.”

Manal Ataya, Director General of Sharjah Museums Authority, said: “The agreement signed between the Sharjah Museums Authority and the Barjeel Art Foundation marks the start of an important period of collaboration and celebration.

“Both organizations are dedicated to promoting the arts through exhibitions and cultural programmes. By cooperating closely together we will be able to offer the art-loving public in the UAE and internationally access to our combined expertise and a huge range of works by established artists.

“We look forward to working on a program of educational events that will appeal to everyone and encourage an increased appreciation of Arab modern art.”

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