Omar Kholeif. Photo: Eric T. White.

Sharjah Art Foundation Appoints Omar Kholeif Director of Collections and Senior Curator

The Sharjah Art Foundation announced today that Omar Kholeif has been named director of collections and senior curator. He will be charged with overseeing the foundation’s acquisition strategy, developing exhibitions and other programming, and securing international partnerships. He will also work closely with Hoor Al Qasimi, the president and director of the foundation, to help the organization open its new building, the Jurainah Art Space, which will house its collection of over one thousand works of twentieth-century and contemporary art.

The arts space aims to serve as a gathering place where the local community can engage with international artists, researchers, and visitors to Sharjah. It will also be home to an archive documenting every edition of the Sharjah Biennial from 1993 to the present, multipurpose rooms, a bookstore, a restaurant, and a café, and will be free to the public. Designed by architect Mona El Mousfy, the building is expected to open in 2022.

“Sharjah Art Foundation—first through the Sharjah Biennial and now through a year-round series of exhibitions and programs—has been both a vital international advocate for contemporary artists from the region and a convener that has brought important artists from around the world to Sharjah for more than a decade,” Al Qasimi said. “The appointment of Dr. Omar Kholeif and the development of Jurainah Arts Space together demonstrate the continuity of this work.”

Prior to joining SAF, Kholeif was senior curator and director of global initiatives at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. He also previously served as curator at Whitechapel Gallery, London; head of art and technology at Space, London; senior curator at Cornerhouse and HOME, Manchester; and curator at FACT, Liverpool.