Focal Point by Sharjah Art Foundation – Miss Read

Focal Point by Sharjah Art Foundation

For this edition of Miss Read, Sharjah Art Foundation will present a selection of books associated with its exhibitions, community programmes, and annual Publishing Grant. The selection will include a range of multilingual projects, tactile artist books, photography books, and scholarly papers. Alongside its own books, a special selection of independent and alternative publications sourced from Focal Point, its annual annual art book fair, will also be displayed. The booth highlights the efforts of regionally-based bookmakers, artists, and independent publishers.

Sharjah Art Foundation brings a broad range of contemporary art and cultural programmes to the communities of Sharjah, the UAE and the region. Recognising the central and distinctive contribution that art makes to society, the Foundation cultivates a spirit of research, experimentation and excellence by offering support to artists and art practitioners, while acting as a catalyst for collaboration and exchange within the Middle East and beyond. The Foundation's core initiatives include the Sharjah Biennial, the annual March Meeting, residencies, production grants, commissions, exhibitions, research, publications and a growing collection.
Abu Jildeh and Armeet
Ma'touq Collective, Abu Jildeh and Armeet, Ma'touq Collective /Sharjah Art Foundation, 2017 © Ma'touq Collective

Abu Jildeh and Al Armeet is a comic book published in Arabic by the Ma’touq Collective, a group of writers and artists from Palestine. The book compiles and sheds light on the the history and experience of early Palestinian insurgents, Abu Jildeh and Al Armeet. Labelled as bandits by British colonialists, yet locally celebrated as Palestinian Robin Hoods – for reallocating wealth from rich to poor – this book looks to reinsert the history of Palestinian insurgents from the 1920s into present narratives.

The publication was commissioned as part of Shifting Grounds, a Sharjah Biennial 13 off-site project held in collaboration between Sharjah Art Foundation, Khalil Sakakini Cultural Centre, Ramallah Municipality and Khashabi Theatre, Haifa. Conceived by Lara Khaldi with the keyword ‘earth’ in relation to Palestine, Shifting Grounds was a five-day programme of book launches, performances and a symposium held in Ramallah in August 2017.

Landwalks Across Palestine and South Africa
Tomà Berlanda, Meghan Ho-Tong, Marah Khalifeh and Adila Laïdi-Hanieh, Landwalks Across Palestine and South Africa, Co-published by Sharjah Art Foundation, Palestinian Museum and the University of Cape Town, 2022 © Tomà Berlanda, Meghan Ho-Tong, Marah Khalifeh and Adila Laïdi-Hanieh

Landwalks: Across Palestine and South Africa explores embodied ways of knowing land and the reclamation of the collective landscape of Palestine and South Africa. The objective of this cross-cultural publication is to overcome fragmentary colonial boundaries through artistic practices and research. The collection of creative mappings authored by eight scholars, artists, architects and activists and complemented by two theoretical pieces by Tshepo Madlingozi and Sumayya Vally reveals the complex layers of memory, belonging and identity embedded in land and the ways in which these are entangled with ideological inscriptions of territory. More specifically, and in light of the continuing land violations, the different voices speak to how Palestinians and Black South Africans overcome political and geographical fragmentation on both metaphorical and tangible levels. The publication highlights how they challenge the ideologies that hold land hostage to zero-sum prophecies and violently transform maps into multilayered projections of historical violence.

Landwalks forms part of a larger, ongoing creative research collaboration between the Palestinian Museum and the School of Architecture at the University of Cape Town that considers the historical similarities and peculiarities of the systemic violations of human rights and land confiscation in South Africa and Occupied Palestine. This publication was produced as part of Sharjah Art Foundation’s annual Publishing Grant (2021), awarded to Tomà Berlanda and Meghan Ho-Tong in 2021. Edited by Berlanda and Ho-Tong with Marah Khalifeh and Adila Laïdi-Hanieh, the publication includes contributions by guest authors Tshepo Madlingozi and Sumayya Vally and participants Hala Barakat, Zara Julius, Samia Kayyali, Tareq Khalaf, Mette LouLou von Kohl, Tanzeem Razak, Rasha Saffarini and Nisreen Zahda.

CAMP, WHARFAGE, Sharjah Art Foundation, 2022 © CAMP

WHARFAGE is a one-of-a-kind maritime travelogue by artist studio CAMP, which explores the embodied labour and maritime movements between the creek of Sharjah, from where a large number of giant wooden ships built in the Gulf of Kutch in Gujarat among other places, and to the semi-state entities of Somalia. The book consists primarily of shipping manifests which act as a series of "images" of the darkness of the hold, and a calendar of what travelled in particular directions, on the water. Accompanying the manifests is documentary photography as well as extensive annotations on images. The artist book traces old trade routes and also maps anew a contemporary landscape of used things, ‘break-in-bulk’ cargo, multiple diasporas, and sea-craft "going" – in the midst of the global financial crisis – "where no one else is going."

Edited by Shaina Anand, Nida Ghouse and Ashok Sukumaran, WHARFAGE is part of CAMP’s oceanic projects in the region that include Radio Meena (2009), The annotated "Gujarat and the Sea" (2011), The Boat-Modes (2012), Country of the Sea (2014) and the widely travelled film From Gulf to Gulf to Gulf (2009–2013). The book was originally published for Sharjah Biennial 9 (2009), where along with Radio Meena it was awarded the main jury prize. This 2nd edition is accompanied by a new reflective foreword by the artists, and published on occasion of "Passages through Passages", CAMP's 2022 solo with Sharjah Art Foundation.