Sharif: Objects and Files curated by Laura Barlow, as part of the permanent collection exhibition FOCUS: Works from Mathaf Collection, Vol. 2, at the Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, Qatar.
FOCUS: Works from Mathaf Collection is an ongoing series of solo exhibitions featuring artists from the Museum’s Permanent Collection.
Exhibitions with Farid Belkahia (Morocco), Saloua Raouda Choucair (Lebanon), Faraj Daham (Qatar), Inji Efflatoun (Egypt), and Abdulhalim Radwi (Saudi Arabia) opened in fall 2015. FOCUS vol.2 presents the first four of these artists with a presentation of collection works by Emirati artist Hassan Sharif. These exhibitions propose entrances into looking at these artists’ production through the lens of curatorial interpretations of historical contexts, materials and aesthetics.
With this series, the Museum’s role is not only to conserve art over time, but to suggest paths for revisiting, re-experiencing, and seeing the selected artworks in light of current events and curatorial readings. Together, the exhibitions invite viewers to rethink their understanding of art history and its connection to the world through original research, writing, and curating.
The curatorial methodology implemented in the FOCUS series explores multiple artistic approaches towards major topics of modernity, including identity, invention and experimentation in art. Belkahia, Choucair, Daham, Efflatoun, Radwi, and Sharif believed they had a responsibility as intellectuals to embrace historical traditions and social progress. They innovated the direction of artistic practice in ways that have proved crucial for subsequent generations. Their diverse backgrounds, education, and interests, as well as their dedication to social reform, allowed for original yet universal creations.
In different ways and with different forms, these artists have played a major part in generating ideas and inventing techniques as they, in conversation with international art movements and other geographies, make sense of their artistic, social, and political worlds.