15th Sharjah Biennial 2021

The 15th Sharjah Biennial 2021 in the United Arab Emirates will stage the last show by the highly influential Nigerian curator Okwui Enwezor, who passed away after a long battle with cancer in March. Titled “Postcolonial,” the exhibition is a sequel to “Postwar: Art Between the Pacific and the Atlantic, 1945–1965” (2016–17), an ambitious presentation of art created after World War II that opened at Munich’s Haus der Kunst, which he led from 2011 to 2018.

Okwui Enwezor. Photo Venice Biennale.
Okwui Enwezor. Photo: Venice Biennale.

Hoor al-Qasimi, the president and director of Sharjah Art Foundation, told the New York Times that Enwezor’s landmark Documenta 11 in 2002 “completely changed my life, and the course of my career.” As the first non-European head of the quinquennial, Enwezor extended Documenta’s reach by bringing it to Vienna, New Delhi, the West Indies, and Lagos in the form of a series of off-site “platforms,” which addressed different themes. Al-Qasimi asked Enwezor about curating a show for the fifteenth iteration of the biennial in the summer of 2018 and collaborated with Enwezor until his death.

Renowned for his global approach to organizing large-scale contemporary art exhibitions, which decentralized Western art, Enwezor curated several international shows over the course of his career, many of which received critical acclaim, including the 2008 Gwangju Biennale, the 2012 Paris Triennale, and the 2015 Venice Biennale. Enwezor was also an educator, who taught at various universities in the United States and served as dean of the San Francisco Art Institute from 2005 to 2009, and a prolific writer.

The 15th Sharjah Biennial 2021, titled “Thinking Historically in the Present,” will open on March 21, 2021 and will feature thirty artist commissions in addition to “Postcolonial.” The art historian Chika Okeke-Agulu, curatorc Ute Meta Bauer and Tarek Abou El Fetouha, and scholar Salah M. Hassan will work with al-Qasimi to help realize Enwezor’s vision.

Media Contacts

Sharjah Art Foundation:
Alyazeyah Al Reyaysa

Sharjah Biennial in the United Arab Emirates
Sharjah Biennial in the United Arab Emirates

March 21 @ 13:15 — March 22 @ 14:15

United Arab Emirates


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