Sharjah – MENA Herald: Barjeel Art Foundation presents a comprehensive survey exhibition of modern Arab art at the Sharjah Art Museum. Entitled The Short Century, the exhibition was inaugurated by H.H. Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan and H.H. Sheikha Hoor Bint Sultan Al Qasimi, on 23 April 2016, and will be comprised of works from the Barjeel collection by modern Arab artists from throughout the 20th Century.
The exhibition presents a period-based framework to view Arab art in a broad sense, focusing on major movements, artists, and changes of the 20th Century with a focus on pre-contemporary mediums of painting and sculpture, including art’s response to nation-building and urban life, the development of modern hurufiya, and the advent of abstraction.
“We are honoured to have His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, and Her Highness Sheikha Hoor Bint Sultan Al Qasimi, both distinguished patrons of the arts, inaugurate this exhibition,” states Barjeel Art founder Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi. “This show presents the largest single exhibition by the Barjeel Art Foundation. We are pleased that it will take place in Sharjah at an important local institution. This presents an opportunity for the public to explore a century of works by Arab artists and provide a valuable resource for artists, scholars, and enthusiasts.”
Curators Suheyla Takesh and Karim Sultan add, “The concept of using a broad historical frame allows us to follow the directions taken by artists at the beginning of the century and explore how they develop over the following decades. This provides an entry point for understanding modern art from the Arab region over the past century, and provides a rich and diverse context for the contemporary art currently produced in the region and beyond.”
Artists include foundational painters Mahmoud Said and Seif Wanly, Egyptian modernists Abdul Hadi El Gazzar and Inji Efflatoun, and Iraqi modernists Dia Azzawi and Shakir Hassan Al Said.
Manal Ataya, Director General of Sharjah Museums Department, said: “Sharjah Museums Department places great value on its partnership with local and international art institutions including the Barjeel Art Foundation. We feel privileged to host the foundation’s rich array of content, which is of great artistic and cultural significance to the local community. We are sure that this exhibition of modern Arab art during a period of tremendous diversity and advancement will be warmly received by our visitors.”
The Short Century refers to a way of thinking of the 20th Century as taking place between two historical events, the First World War (1914) and the fall of the Soviet Union (1991). Similar events simultaneously frame the Arab region, such as Sykes-Picot Agreement (1916) and the Gulf War (1990-1991), and provide a backdrop for the artistic development and cultural trajectories of the region.