Different strokes: Sharjah Biennial curator paints a new picture

As the Gulf region gears up for its arts season, the international chatter surrounding the bold approach of Sharjah Biennial's new curator is increasing in volume

The Sharjah Biennial has long been considered one of the Gulf region’s foremost art events and a must-do date in the diaries of curators, gallerists and art critics from around the world. The next show doesn't take place until 2013, but with the recent announcement of a new curator for the event, the art world is already talking about the next edition.

Yuko Hasegawa, Chief Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, was appointed to the post in December and art watchers are now expecting a new dynamic for 2013. Hasegawa has said that she intends to show a selection of works that will aim to reassess the Eurocentrism of knowledge in modern times.

Hasegawa’s approach, and the introduction of architects and designers to the Biennial for the first time, is sure to be widely discussed at this spring’s March Meeting. The Meeting, held just before contemporary art show Art Dubai, draws together movers and shakers on the international art scene who work in or with the art of the region. The annual gathering, organised by the Sharjah Art Foundation, provides a critical platform for arts practitioners to exchange ideas and discuss collaborative projects.

Dubai’s neighbouring emirate, Sharjah, has a long and fruitful history of fostering the arts. Boasting an impressive 18 museums under the umbrella of the Sharjah Museums Department, the region’s culture buffs are well used to navigating the myriad exhibitions on show in the emirate. In particular, the Sharjah Art Museum has an excellent record for staging high-quality temporary exhibitions alongside its impressive permanent collections. Its outstanding collection of the work of 18th- and 19th-century Orientalist painters is essential viewing for anyone wishing to gain an understanding of the history of art about the region.