Sheikha Hoor Al-Qasimi

President of the Sharjah Art Foundation and International Biennial Association

An off-year for Hoor’s Sharjah Biennial offers no rest for the polyglot Sheikha. First there is the annual March Meeting she organises, which this year took the title ‘Active Forms’ to explore modes of political resistance, and brought together speakers such as John Akomfrah, Shilpa Gupta and Rasheed Araeen. Then there’s the ongoing exhibition programme at the Sharjah Foundation, which this year featured exhibitions by Guyana-born British artist Frank Bowling and Kuwaiti Ala Younis, and a new permanent installation (housed in a specially built gallery) of Random International’s ever-crowd-pleasing Rain Room (2012). Yet Hoor’s attention also stretched beyond the foundation this year with the reopening of the city’s Africa Hall in September, a forerunner to the Africa Institute that is being built next door. Offering an MA course and PhD supervision, as well as conferences, symposia, lectures, film screenings and theatre, this new initiative takes African and African diaspora studies as its raison d’être.