Michael Rakowitz, The Ballad of Special Ops Cody (still), 2017
Director of photographer and editor: Robert Chase Heishman
The most extensive presentation of works from the Sharjah Art Foundation Collection to date is on view in Sharjah following its debut at Deichtorhallen Hamburg in October 2022.
In the Heart of Another Country explores the concept of home, of longing and belonging. Drawing inspiration from the late artist and author Etel Adnan’s landmark memoir, In the Heart of Another Country (2004), the exhibition charts sentiments of longing, memorial and homecoming through a constellation of artworks that unfold across borders, both real and imagined.
The exhibition brings together more than 150 artworks by over 60 artists. Works from the Sharjah Art Foundation Collection included in this choreographed scenography span from 1935 to the present and have traversed routes from Colombo to London, from Cairo to Zanzibar through to the foothills of Mount Tamalpaïs in California, and back again. What unites these myriad artworks, and their makers, is the emirate of Sharjah, which has historically served as a site of encounter and exchange amongst artists and intellectuals, fostering an ongoing space for the diasporic imagination to come to life.
Over the past three decades, Sharjah Biennial and Sharjah Art Foundation have provided an internationally recognised platform for artists underrepresented in the global art canon, while offering perspectives from across the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Through these years, the Foundation has established an archive of contemporary thought and form generated by artists through commissions and exhibitions, performances and conversation and its public collection of modern and contemporary art. This exhibition identifies key themes evident throughout the Collection and brings them together.
Across all six galleries in Al Mureijah Art Spaces, migrating forms—emblems of political abstraction emerge into being as propositional architectures. Artists’ experiments in photography and painting construct distinctive and reflective portraits, creating portals into multiple seats of both individual and shared cultural memory. Elsewhere, the mutable nature of geographic borders, histories of trade and migration are examined. Collectively, these expressions of artistic imagination reflect how movement across space and time has shaped the frames of modern and contemporary art around the world today.