Christine Tohmé

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

Often in the year preceding a biennial its curator will embark on a crazy travel schedule, fitting in as many studio visits as possible. When, as Tohmé has decided for her steerage of the 13th Sharjah Biennial, the biennial breaks the singular exhibition format and unfolds instead over a full year (starting October), encompassing shows and public programmes in Sharjah and Beirut, together with projects spread across Dakar, Ramallah and Istanbul, travel becomes even more of a necessity. So it must have been galling at least, not to say a political outrage, that Tohmé had her passport revoked and a warrant issued against her by the Lebanese government in January. Though the travel ban proved temporary, the curator – and founder and director of the Lebanese Association for the Plastic Arts, Ashkal Alwan – was in no doubt that it formed part of a general crackdown on those involved in the arts following antigovernment protests in Lebanon in 2015.