Lahore Biennale Foundations announces Hoor Al Qasimi as the Curator for LB02.
Al Qasimi is the President and Director of Sharjah Art Foundation. At a very young age, she found her calling as a curator and practising artist. With passion for the arts and a discerning eye for cultural representation, she was appointed curator of Sharjah Biennale VI in 2003 and has continued as the Biennale Director since. All these years, she has strengthened the Foundation as a crucial platform for contemporary art in the region.
Al Qasimi received her BFA from the Slade School of Fine Art, London (2002), a Diploma in Painting from the Royal Academy of Arts, London (2005) and an MA in Curating Contemporary Art from the Royal College of Art, London (2008). She was also President of the Africa Institute, Sharjah and President of the International Biennial Association. Currently, she serves on the Board of Directors for MoMA PS1, New York; KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; Ashkal Alwan, Beirut; Darat Al Funun, Amman and Sharjah Architecture Triennial, Sharjah. She is also Chair of the Advisory Board for the College of Art and Design, University of Sharjah and member of the Advisory Board for Khoj International Artists’ Association, New Delhi.
Al Qasimi has worked extensively with international artists, especially from the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. Her recent curatorial projects include major retrospectives, such as Hassan Sharif: I Am The Single Work Artist (2017–2018), Yayoi Kusama: Dot Obsessions (2016–2017), Robert Breer: Time Flies (2016–2017), Simone Fattal (2016) and Farideh Lashai (2016) as well as 1980–Today: Exhibitions in the United Arab Emirates, UAE Pavilion, 56th Venice Biennale (2015); Rasheed Araeen: Before and After Minimalism (2014) and Susan Hefuna: Another Place (2014). Al Qasimi was co-curator for Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige: Two Suns in a Sunset (2016), exhibited in Sharjah and Jeu de Paume, Paris; Haus der Kunst, Munich and IVAM, Valencia. She co-curated major survey shows; When Art Becomes Liberty: The Egyptian Surrealists (1938–1965) (2016) and The Khartoum School: The Making of the Modern Art Movement in Sudan (1945–Present) (2016–2017).
Her visit to Lahore, Pakistan, in November 2018, is the beginning of thorough groundwork to develop her curatorial vision for LB02. The focal point of this biennale will emerge as Al Qasimi understands the nature of the country, its places and the content of the region. The overarching themes, components, dates, duration, and participation will also be decided once the curator contextualizes her creative concerns pertaining to Lahore. With a rich and multi-local urban structure, the city is an ever-fertile ground for artistic intervention and social ferment. As a major agricultural, industrial, educational, and cultural center in South Asia, it hosts diverse communities, distinctive histories, and multiple worldviews.
Biennales, across the world, offer discourses between local and international perspectives. Al-Qasimi, with her extensive experience and curatorial insight is sure to engage the international art world in this region and add value to the local-global art network. The inadequate representation of Pakistan at the media forefront calls for interactions that foster deeper and multifaceted conversations between the region and the rest of the world. LB02, with Al Qasimi’s foresight and creative energy, seeks to highlight the alternate and parallel realities of the city through reflective, open-ended and investigative projects in the region.
The Lahore Biennale Foundation will be a catalyst for this initiative, as it has always been committed to developing the arts as a tool for social transformation. It has been working with the government sector, public organizations, private corporations and international cultural organizations and has sought partnerships with key stakeholders to bring the Arts into public realm. LBF successfully hosted its inaugural flagship event, the Lahore Biennale, LB01, in March 18-31, 2018. Venturing out to witness exclusive works of art by distinguished national and international artists from around the world, the local audience discovered their city instead. The curatorial design activated some of the most exquisite places and spaces of the city. Seven unique venues – Lahore Fort, Shahi Hammam, Mubarak Haveli, Alhamra Art Centre, Bagh-e-Jinnah, Lahore Museum and Canal Road – embraced works of more than seventy artists in a range of mediums.
The Sharjah Art Foundation has also collaborated with LBF. The two art organizations share collective goals of preserving and celebrating distinct cultures of their region and encouraging a shared understanding of the transformational role of creative expression. Sharjah Art Foundation has been a long-standing advocate, patron and producer of contemporary art within the Emirate of Sharjah and the surrounding region. It has also funded Naeem Mohaiemen’s video work, Two Meetings and a Funeral, and also helped with logistics for other video works in the last Biennale (LB01). In the past, the Foundation has supported Pakistani and South Asian artists through commissioned projects and grant awards under its Production Program. Basir Mahmood, Shazia Sikandar, Imran Qureshi, and Rasheen Araeen are some of the distinguished beneficiaries of the Program.
Under Hoor Al Qasimi’s leadership, LB02 aims to strengthen socio-economic ties and further cross-cultural linkages between South Asia, Middle East and the rest of the world. In line with the ethos of the two foundations (Lahore Biennale Foundation and Sharjah Art Foundation), the 2020 Lahore Biennale will advance a wide-ranging and experimental model for the production, presentation and reception of contemporary art in its various forms; one that thrives on public interaction, co-creation, learning, criticality, research-based practices, mobility and cross-border connections. With its growing momentum, the event hopes to introduce fresh avenues that will fortify the city’s multi-modal cultural legacy and magnetize audiences from many countries.