sharjah-united-arab-emirates

Sharjah Biennial 8: Still Life

Various Venues

The organizers of the eighth edition of the Sharjah Biennial set themselves a formidable task by using an exhibition of contemporary art to address environmental degradation in the United Arab Emirates. One of seven small emirates constituting the UAE, Sharjah is a Persian Gulf rentier state whose export of fossil fuels has made it the world’s fourth-wealthiest nation. To mitigate the foreseeable exhaustion of oil and gas reserves, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and to a lesser extent Sharjah have engineered a massive construction boom to create additional sources of income through tourism, financial services, and trade. With its rampant consumerism, man-made islands, audacious luxury towers, energy-chomping desalinization plants, and cookie-cutter suburbs carved into desert sands, the UAE is an environmentalist’s nightmare.

For the government of Sharjah to fund a “green” biennial certainly flipped

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the September 2007 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.