Sharjah International Book Fair 29th Edition

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Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
ExpoCenter 7th - 17th November, 2012. Hours | Saturday - Thursday: 10a.m. - 10p.m.; Friday: 4p.m - 10p.m.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Lisa Dempster › Maraya Art Centre, Sharjah

Sharjah International Book Fair

My favourite cultural destination in Sharjah is without a doubt Maraya Art Centre at Al Qasba. Maraya is a new contemporary art centre which has a specific goal to engage young people and working artists. It is AMAZING.

On the first floor is Shelter, which, in their words:

Sharjah International Book Fair

Sharjah International Book Fair

The second floor hosts the Barjeel Art Foundation, a visual art exhibition that comes from the private collection of Sultan Bin Sooud Al-Qassemi. There are some stunning pieces from Arabic contemporary artists, but the standout for me was the artwork Snow White Without The Dwarves by Egyptian artistGhada Amer. I took this terrible photo below, and there is a better image here, but these reproductions pale in comparison with the real thing, which is bold, bright and colourful, made with watercolour and thread. Astounding.

Sharjah International Book Fair

The third floor hosts changing collections that focus on contemporary art, especially digital or mixed media. When I visited it was CAVE – Contemporary Arab Video Exhibit, which showcased short films from nine artists across the Muslim world. It was incredible. The set up was great and the films were in turn thought-provoking, political, and disturbing, and the images and messages are still lingering in my mind…

People often ask me what I will do for a job post-EWF, and while I have no idea where I might go, I love the idea of running a space like Maraya. If I lived in Sharjah I would spend a lot of time there!

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