Writing Art History Since 2002

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The 15th edition of Sharjah Art Foundation’s annual March Meeting opened today. It will continue to the 12th of March 2023, following close on the heels of the opening of Sharjah Biennial 15 (SB15) on the 7th of February.

The Africa Hall. © Suzette and Brendon Bell-Roberts

Titled The Postcolonial Constellation: Art, Culture, Politics after 1960, the four-day programme will convene artists, curators and art practitioners as well as students from around the world to discuss vital issues revolving around SB15’s overarching theme: Thinking Historically in the Present. March Meeting 2023 (MM 2023) builds on the two previous iterations of the meeting – The Afterlives of the Postcolonial (MM 2022) and Unravelling the Present (MM 2021) – that were similarly conceived as part of the SB15 programming in relationship to the late Okwui Enwezor’s conception of the ‘Postcolonial Constellation’.

The Postcolonial Constellation: Art, Culture, Politics after 1960 examines the forces that have shaped the production and reception of art across the world from 1960 to the present, reconfiguring the cartographies of global modernism and contemporary art. It will offer discursive space to explore artistic, political and cultural positions traversing subalternity and self-determination, First Nation and Indigenous practices, creolisation, hybridity and supranational formations, such as the Black Atlantic, diasporas, exile and statelessness. It will thus constitute a dynamic intersection of artistic, ideological and philosophical perspectives on decolonisation – a field of scholarship originally developed within postcolonial studies.

Suzette and Brendon Bell-Roberts, Founders of ART AFRICA at the Africa Hall. © Suzette and Brendon Bell-Roberts
IBA Stage: Sharjah Biennial 15. Sharjah Institute of Theatrical Arts, Al Mureijah. © Suzette and Brendon Bell-Roberts

Delineating a moment in which the notion of a consolidated nation-state is challenged by the remarkable resilience of individual, non-state and counter-institutional models of sovereignty, autonomy, identity and subjectivity, The Postcolonial Constellation studies the global political, social and economic systemic and structural shifts that have characterised our world since the 1960s. It does so by revisiting and reanimating the archives and histories of this period; by examining contemporaneous artistic and political practices, theories and cultural production testifying to that time and by presenting ideas, artists, artworks and critical theory that offer parallactic views of our convulsive world.

The Postcolonial Constellation reflects on the movements and interactions of artists, filmmakers, performers, thinkers, writers, philosophers, public intellectuals, activists, guerrilla movements and other societal actors within and beyond the limiting framework of the ‘sovereign nation-state’. To the extent that The Postcolonial Constellation understands the global present as intimately tied to histories of the postcolonial, MM 2023 and the other platforms of SB15 constitute critical spaces for ‘thinking historically in the present’.

Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi, Welcome remarks, Director Sharjah Art Foundation. © Suzette and Brendon Bell-Roberts
Terry Smith, Keynote, Professor, European Graduate School; Emeritus Professor, University of Sydney and University of Pittsburgh. © Suzette and Brendon Bell-Roberts
Revisiting the Global 1960s panel Zoé Whitley (speaking) with Mahvish Ahmad, Zeina Maasri (remotely), Jelena Vesić and Christopher J. Lee (Moderator). © Suzette and Brendon Bell-Roberts

To view the full programme, please visit Sharjah Art Foundation.

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