For the past two decades the Sharjah Biennial has enriched the cultural landscape of the Arabian Gulf by commissioning, producing and presenting innovative and challenging art experiences while offering an internationally recognized platform for artists from the region.
Founded in 1993, the Sharjah Biennial has developed from a traditional and regionally focused exhibition into the global event, as it has become today. Originally modelled on a classic biennial formed with artists chosen officially to represent every participating country, the Biennial provided a rare glimpse into the world of artistic practices.
In 2003, the Biennial witnessed a marked shift in direction as Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi took on the role of co-curator with artist and curator Peter Lewis. With two artists at the helm, the focus turned more directly towards the art and the individual artists themselves, thereby establishing what has proven to be an enduring theme in the Biennial’s future manifestations.A Biennial Prize is awarded on each occasion by a jury of prominent art world figures. In 2009 jury members Paolo Colombo, Salah Hassan and Ute Meta Bauer divided the $30,000 prize funds between First Prize winner the Mumbai-based art collective CAMP, and four Second Prize winners Hamra Abbas, Basma Al Sharif, Haris Epaminonda and Maha Maamoun.