Christine Tohmé

Director of the Lebanese Association for Plastic Arts and curator of 13th Sharjah Biennial

‘You can’t talk about Lebanon in isolation,’ Tohmé told Artforum in 2015, ‘you have to understand it as part of a region where things are unstable, where the whole map is being redrafted.’ Closing earlier this year, Tohmé’s border-crossing Sharjah Biennial 13 – a yearlong programme of exhibitions, public programmes and projects stretching across Sharjah, Beirut, Dakar, Ramallah and Istanbul – was the most ambitious expression yet of the curator’s desire to make connections across the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. But it’s been there all along: Ashkal Alwan, the nonprofit arts organisation she founded in Beirut in 1994 after the conclusion of the Lebanese Civil War, continues to play a crucial role in helping local artists onto the international stage and advancing the city’s reputation as a creative hub. It was in recognition of those services that Tohmé was awarded the UNESCO Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture in May.