National Museum of Denmark Presents Sharjah – Art from the Emirates Exhibition

Gain challenging insights into Arab culture through the exquisite collections of the Emirate of Sharjah: hand-coloured maps, Arabic calligraphy and modern visual art by both female and male artists.

During the first exhibition weekend there will be a number of activities – for example you can see a professional calligrapher demonstrate the wondrous visual world of Arabic scripts and experience a 16-member traditional music ensemble. Open through 31st October 2010.

Karima Al-Shoumali: Installation Burqa Photo: Nationalmuseet

Works with an international outlook
For decades the Emirate of Sharjah has practiced a very active arts policy with large international biennials for art and calligraphy where exchanges and dialogue with the surrounding world have been in focus. Each of the six artists selected for the exhibition works with various media of expression – photography, video, installation and painting – and each is interested in entering into new visual dialogues between the work, the viewer and the surroundings. This is underscored by the short portrait films where the artists speak directly to the audience.

Karima’s ‘Burqa’
Karima Mohammed Al Shomely (b. 1966) is one of the two female artists in the exhibition, a striking feature of which is her installation ‘Burqa’, where radiantly coloured columns are clad in traditional face masks. This, along with other works shown, belongs to her production ‘Behind’, in which dialogue plays a central role. Often she focuses – in many unexpected ways – on the difference between people’s outer behaviour and the dialogue that takes place in consciousness but which never comes to expression and is often full of pain and grief. Karima trained at the University of Art in London and has participated in many international art projects.

Modern calligraphy
Arabic calligraphy is a classical discipline and is very much a living art form. In the exhibition around 20 new works are being shown where the artists let the calligraphy unfold on canvas, in acrylic paints and with the traditional reed pens replaced by brushes. New classical works are also shown, as well as a number of older works from the Sharjah Calligraphy Museum. A calligrapher is coming to Denmark and the visitors will be able to follow his fascinating work in an open workshop in the museum lobby.

Map with camels
The Emirate of Sharjah and its geographical location are presented through a rich collection of historic maps from the 1500s on. In the oldest, which are hand-coloured in pastel colours, besides the obligatory seas, rivers and land areas, caravan animals such as elephants and camels, people in exotic costumes and ships in full sail have been drawn in. On these mainly European-produced maps borders have shifted, names have changed and even coastlines seem to have changed strikingly; the lack of knowledge and recycling from older maps have meant that some maps can look rather imaginative, while others lie amazingly close to the satellite maps we know of the Arabian Peninsula.

More Sharjah
The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue in Danish and English.
Besides the activities at the National Museum, DAC| Danish Architecture Centre at Gammel Dok will be showing The Arab Cultural Institute presents: Nomad Academy Goes Public/DAC 2010, which is a collaboration of artists from Denmark and Sharjah.

Further information
About the exhibition: Exhibition Coordinator Christel Braae, PhD, +45 3347 3224,
Press photos etc.: PR and Marketing Coordinator Jesper T. Møller, +45 3347 3006,
Partners in Sharjah: Directorate of Arts, The Cultural Department, Gov. Of Sharjah.

Sharjah – Art from the Emirates
Special exhibition 18th June-31st October 2010
Tuesday-Sunday 10.00-17.00
National Museum of Denmark
Ny Vestergade 10, Copenhagen
+45 3313 4411

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