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Mohamed Ali Fadlabi, Anawana Haloba, Jumana Manna and Sille Storihle at the Sharjah Biennial 11: ‘Re:emerge, Towards a New Cultural Cartography’

Still from The Goodness Regime by Jumana Manna and Sille Storihle, 2013.
Courtesy of the artists


the participation of Mohamed Ali Fadlabi, Anawana Haloba, Jumana Manna and Sille Storihle at the Sharjah Biennial 11: ‘Re:emerge, Towards a New Cultural Cartography’

Curator: Yuko Hasegawa
Exhibition Dates: 13 March–13 May 2013
Press Conference: Tuesday 12 March / 10:00

Sharjah Biennial 11, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

According to the organisers, in ‘Re:emerge, Towards a New Cultural Cartography’, curator Yuko Hasegawa proposes a Biennial that ‘reassess the Westerncentrism of knowledge in modern times and reconsiders the relationship between the Arab world, Asia, the Far East, through North Africa and Latin America’. Hasegawa was inspired by the courtyard in Islamic architecture, in particular the historical courtyards of Sharjah, where ‘elements of both public and private life intertwine, and where the objective political world and the introspective subjective space intersect and cross over. Within the network of intensifying international and globalising links, the courtyard as an experiential and experimental space comes to mirror something of Sharjah as a vital zone of creativity, transmission, and transformation’. For the Sharjah Biennial 11, Hasegawa has selected more than one hundred artists, architects, filmmakers, musicians and performers whose artworks and practices resonate with strands of the curatorial theme: ‘the complexity and diversity of cultures and societies; spatial and political relations; notions of new forms of contact, dialogue, and exchange and production through art and architectural practices of new ways of knowing, thinking, and feeling’.

Within this context, Mohamed Ali Fadlabi will present the installation project The Prediction Machine, commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation. While maintaining its roots in African culture, the work is ‘tempered by irony and postcolonial theoretical discourse as the artist seeks to seduce the viewer with a series of culturally defunct frames of reference’. Telling stories of saints and superheroes, The Prediction Machine references Ethiopian church paintings, African barber salon art, Sun Ra’s afrofuturism, retrofuturism and music. The work questions Western norms in art, the meaning of Europe today and the persistent division between what is designated the West and the non-West.

In her project titled This and Many More?, Anawana Haloba explores conflicts that occurred during periods of colonisation and resistance, looking at how such conflicts affected approaches to development. Haloba reenacts events, such as the 1930 Salt March led by Mahatma Gandhi in India, via gestures and narratives that allow the viewer to approach history from a different vantage point, creating links between past and present conflicts. The installation unfolds over two sections. In the first are four barrels cast from polyester, fiberglass and metal dust. Each barrel widens at the top to create a large flat surface that functions as a screen, onto which four videos are projected. The second section is a brightly lit white cube gallery in which stands a heap of coarse salt, 150 kilos in weight, and around which people can sit. The work has been commissioned by the Sharjah Art Foundation.

Jumana Manna and Sille Storihle will participate in the Sharjah Biennial 11 with a documentary titled The Goodness Regime, exploring the image of Norway as a country of peace and benevolence. Archival footage of political speeches and clips from Hollywood films are woven together with a series of enactments by children, in which they recount the myths, historical events and cultural personae that have propelled the understanding of this Scandinavian nation. In a satirical deconstruction of the ‘goodness regime’, the artists explore the past moral dilemmas of one of the wealthiest countries on Earth.