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This year’s annual convening extends dialogues around the themes of Sharjah Biennial 15

March Meeting 2022: Imperatives to Reimagine the Postcolonial , Keynote by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. Image courtesy of Sharjah Art Foundation.
March Meeting 2022: Imperatives to Reimagine the Postcolonial, Keynote by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. Image courtesy of Sharjah Art Foundation.

Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF) has announced details on the programme for this year’s edition of the March Meeting, the Foundation’s annual programme that convenes artists, art professionals, and academics to discuss critical issues in contemporary art. Taking place from 9 to 12 March 2023, March Meeting 2023: 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 conceived geography of global modernism and contemporary art. March Meeting 2023 is concurrent with Sharjah Biennial 15, and performances and events tied to the Biennial will take place during and in the week of March Meeting, 7 through 13 March. 

With March Meeting 2023, the Foundation offers a platform for extended conversations around the ideas raised in Sharjah Biennial 15: Thinking Historically in the Present¸ conceived by the late curator Okwui Enwezor and curated by Foundation Director Hoor Al Qasimi, which runs through 7 June, 2023. The programme also builds on the two previous iterations of March Meeting that were similarly conceived as part of SB15 in relationship to Enwezor’s conception of the ‘postcolonial constellation’: Unravelling the Present (March Meeting 2021) and The Afterlives of the Postcolonial (March Meeting 2022). 

By re-examining cultural, political, social and economic histories over the past seven decades, The Postcolonial Constellation examines systemic and structural shifts that have characterised our world and influenced artistic and political practices. This theoretical backdrop offers a discursive space to explore issues on traversing the subordinating effects of colonisation and self-determination; First Nation and Indigenous practices; creolisation, hybridity, and supranational formations, such as the Black Atlantic; and diasporas, exile, and statelessness. These conversations will offer artistic, ideological and philosophical perspectives on decolonisation – a field of scholarship originally developed within postcolonial studies. 

“March Meeting 2023 and the other platforms of Sharjah Biennial 15 constitute critical spaces to act on Okwui Enwezor’s idea of ‘thinking historically in the present’ – our organising principle for this year’s Biennial. We look forward to convening a global audience in March to further the critical conversations that Okwui sparked through his curatorial practice and scholarship,” said Sharjah Art Foundation President and Director Hoor Al Qasimi.

Featuring nearly 50 speakers spread across four days, March Meeting 2023 will include a dynamic slate of keynote addresses and panel discussions. Select sessions include: 

  • Keynote addresses by Terry Smith (Emeritus Professor, University of Sydney; European Graduate School; and University of Pittsburgh) on renewing African Art discourse within the postcolonial constellation; Margo Crawford (The Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Professor for Faculty Excellence, University of Pennsylvania) on Black abstraction; and Brent Hayes Edwards (Peng Family Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University) on Black radicalism and the archive;
  • A panel discussion on the African, Asian, and Latin American perspectives of the 1960s, focusing on pivotal decolonisation and independence movements. Moderated by Christopher J. Lee (Professor of African History, The Africa Institute), the panel features Mahvish Ahmad (Assistant Professor in Human Rights and Politics, London School of Economics); Zeina Maasri (Senior Lecturer, History of Art, University of Bristol); Jelena Vesić (Independent curator, writer, editor and lecturer) and Zoé Whitley (Director and Curator, Chisenhale Gallery); 
  • An examination of the culture and ceremony of Indigenous Australians and theft of First Nation Australian bodily remains, as discussed by the creators of a play focusing on these issues, The Return, John Harvey (Writer, Brown Cabs), Matthew Lutton (Artistic Director, Malthouse Theatre) and Jason Tamiru (Director and Cultural Custodian, Malthouse Theatre); 
  • A conversation about how artists, writers and cultural producers have responded to the unprecedented mass migration triggered by wars, repressive regimes, economic crises and worsening environmental catastrophe in recent decades. This panel features Tayeba Begum Lipi (Artist, Co-Founder and Trustee of Britto Arts Trust); Heather Igloliorte (University Research Chair in Circumpolar Indigenous Arts, Concordia University); Sonal Khullar (W. Norman Brown Associate Professor of South Asian Studies, University of Pennsylvania); and Charlene Villaseñor Black (Professor of Art History and Chicana/o Studies, UCLA), and is moderated by Terri Geis (Visiting Associate Professor of Art and Art History, NYU Abu Dhabi)

During the week of March Meeting 2023, the Foundation will also present site-specific performances by Kiluanji Kia Henda, Marwah AlMugait, Naiza Khan and more, as well as guided tours of the Biennial’s venues across the Emirate. Additionally, on 8 March the Foundation will host a conversation about this year’s Biennial with Hoor Al Qasimi, Octavio Zaya and Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, as part of International Biennial Association’s IBA Stage series.

More details on the March Meeting schedule, including a list of speakers and events taking place throughout the week, are available here

This programme is made possible through support from the Terra Foundation for American Art and the International Biennial Association.

March Meeting 2023: The Postcolonial Constellation: Art, Culture, Politics after 1960 is taking place from the 9th until the 12th of March, 2023, at the Africa Hall in Sharjah. For more information on the programme, or to register to attend, please visit Sharjah Art Foundation. Registration for March Meeting 2023 is free.

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