For the many years, Sharjah Foundation’s Community Programme has been committed to engaging and growing the local creative community.
My role at Sharjah Art Foundation was to expand on local audience engagement, activate the SAF Urban Garden, and consider ways to allow the exhibitions and Biennials, and ultimately, tackle an environment I had recently moved to. It was a pivotal time in my career and an invaluable learning experience. I was navigating mapping the local community, neighbouring shops, young artists, volunteers, and also balancing out institutional needs, layered departments and stakeholders. Another larger challenge was resolving how Sharjah could be an accessible place to visit, despite the logistical challenges of reaching Sharjah.
I designed a method that is now my blueprint for public programming, that included mapping exercises, collective research, focus groups, zine making workshops, scavenger hunts and culinary tours, but all stemming from the site-specificity of the space.
The neighbourhood became a platform through which the exhibiting works could be seen, but that the evolution of the neighbourhood could be documented, and seen as a valuable part of the Sharjah Art Foundation.
In collaboration with Gulf Photo Plus and MobiPixUAE, SAF organised a photo tour of SB12 where participants walked through Souk Al Arsa, SAF Art Spaces, Port Khalid and Calligraphy Square.
This event began with a tour around the exhibitions of Sudanese artists Amir Nour, Kamala Ibrahim Ishag and The Khartoum School, followed by a night of Sudanese music and poetry at SAF Urban Garden.