Press Release

Hoor Al Qasimi Appointed Curator of Lahore Biennale

Lahore, Pakistan
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Hoor Al Qasimi, President and Founding Director of Sharjah Art Foundation, has been appointed Curator of the second Lahore Biennale (LB02), opening in early 2020 and on view across the city of Lahore, Pakistan. Director of the internationally-respected Sharjah Biennial since 2002 and President of the International Biennial Association, Al Qasimi will bring her extensive expertise to LB02, which will feature new commissions, large-scale installations, and discursive programming. 

The inaugural Lahore Biennale (LB01), held in March 2018, showcased over 100 artworks in some of Lahore’s major venues and saw the participation of various artists and scholars from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India. For LB02, the Biennial will extend its regional scope to West Asia and the Middle East.

Chairman of the Board of the Lahore Biennale Foundation, Osman Khalid Waheed stated, ‘The Lahore Biennale Foundation is delighted to have Hoor Al Qasimi as its curator for the second edition of the Lahore Biennale. In addition to her deep knowledge and extensive curatorial experience, Al Qasimi brings a very special energy to her projects. As the founder and driving force behind the Sharjah Art Foundation and the Sharjah Biennial, Al Qasimi has explored and demonstrated the power of art to transform narratives and transcend borders.’

“I am honoured to have this opportunity to work with the Lahore Biennale Foundation on the second edition of the Lahore Biennale,” said Al Qasimi. “The first edition proved how even a new biennial can be both a means to engage the local and regional community while offering an internationally visible platform for artists and the cultural life of a city. I look forward to working closely with the Foundation to curate a programme that celebrates the richness of artistic practice in South Asia and the importance of strengthening cultural ties between this region, the Middle East and the broader international arts landscape.”

A curator and practicing artist, Al Qasimi launched Sharjah Art Foundation in 2009 as a catalyst and advocate for the role of art in Sharjah, the UAE, regionally and internationally. With a passion for supporting experimentation and innovation in the arts, Al Qasimi has continuously expanded the scope of the Foundation over its nearly ten-year history to include major exhibitions that have toured internationally, artist and curator residencies in visual art, film, and music, commissions and production grants for emerging artists, and a wide range of educational programming for children and adults in Sharjah. 

In 2003, Al Qasimi was appointed curator of Sharjah Biennial 6, and has since continued as Biennial Director. Under Al Qasimi’s leadership, the Sharjah Biennial has continued to grow as an internationally recognised platform for contemporary artists, curators, and cultural producers. Her leadership in the field led to her election as the new president of the International Biennial Association (IBA) in 2017, an appointment that transferred IBA’s headquarters to Sharjah. Complimenting her role at SAF, Al Qasimi also serves as the President of the Africa Institute as well as on the Board of Directors for the Sharjah Architecture Triennial which debuted its inaugural edition in November 2019.   

Recent curatorial projects include major retrospectives Hassan Sharif: I Am The Single Work Artist (2017–2018), Yayoi Kusama: Dot Obsessions (2016–2017), Robert Breer: Time Flies (2016–2017), Simone Fattal (2016) and Farideh Lashai (2016) as well as 1980–Today: Exhibitions in the United Arab Emirates, UAE Pavilion, 56th Venice Biennale (2015); Rasheed Araeen: Before and After Minimalism (2014) and Susan Hefuna: Another Place (2014). Al Qasimi was co-curator for Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige: Two Suns in a Sunset (2016), exhibited not only in Sharjah but also at Jeu de Paume, Paris; Haus der Kunst, Munich and IVAM, Valencia. She co-curated the major survey shows When Art Becomes Liberty: The Egyptian Surrealists (1938–1965) (2016) and The Khartoum School: The Making of the Modern Art Movement in Sudan (1945–Present) (2016–2017).

Al Qasimi serves on the Board of Directors for MoMA PS1 in New York, USA; KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin, Germany; and Ashkal Alwan in Beirut, Lebanon. She is the Chair of the Advisory Board for the College of Art in Design at the University of Sharjah; member of the Advisory Board for Khoj International Artists’ Association in New Delhi, India; and member of the Advisory Board for Darat Al Funun in Amman, Jordan. Currently, she serves as a member of the Prince Claus Award Committee (2016–current), and a juror for the PinchukArtCentre’s 5th edition of the Future Generation Art Prize. She has previously served on the juries and prize panels for the Bonnefanten Award for Contemporary Art (2018), Maria Lassnig Prize (2017), Mediacity Seoul Prize (2016), Hepworth Wakefield Prize for Sculpture (2016), Prince Claus Awards (2016), Berlin International Film Festival – Berlinale Shorts (2016), Videobrasil (2015), Dubai International Film Festival (2014) and Benesse Prize (2013).

Al Qasimi has an MA in curating contemporary art from the Royal College of Art in London (2008). She holds a diploma in painting from the Royal Academy of Arts in London (2005) and received her BFA from the Slade School of Fine Art in London (2002). 

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