Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF) is launching the first edition of FOCAL POINT, an annual art book fair that will present, engage, circulate, sell and distribute varied printed matter and products by publishers from across the region and the world.
The fair will be held from November 8-10 at the historic Bait Obaid Al Shamsi in Sharjah’s Arts Square. Originally built in 1845 as a residential house, the space has two levels and a courtyard, which were renovated in the late 1990’s and then again in 2017 to be used for artist studios and exhibition spaces. The venue has been host to past Sharjah Biennials and other SAF exhibitions.
FOCAL POINT will offer a broad perspective on art publishing, with independent and alternative publishing practices featured alongside larger, more established publishing houses.
At the event, publishers—both independent and mainstream— will present their content individually or within curated sections. All the participants will explore what it means to read, write, mediate, edit or publish printed matter under the label of art.
Participants include pan-African platform Chimurenga, African Art Book Fair, Khoj, Vasl Artists’ Association and Terremoto from Colombia as well as independent publishers such as Kulte Editions, Perimeter Books, Blaft Publications, Kaph Books, Triple Canopy, Saqi Books, Tara Books and Bon Art Book Fair, among others.
FOCAL POINT will also feature a series of talks, screenings, a book launch, a lecture-performance, art projects, an open studio and themed educational workshops, some of which have been planned especially for children.
The inaugural event will also include the collaborative symposium It Begins with a Story: Artists, Writers and Periodicals in Asia, developed by Hong Kong’s Asia Art Archive, which will present the history and the current scenario of publishing in the wider Asia region. The partnership marks Asia Art Archive’s first official collaboration in the GCC region.
FOCAL POINT will also launch the English and Arabic editions of the book Ibrahim El-Salahi: Prison Notebook, produced by the Sudanese artist Ibrahim El Salahi. Co-published by The Museum of Modern Art and Sharjah Art Foundation, this historical text will be launched with a presentation and talk by Dr Salah M. Hassan, Goldwin Smith professor and director, Institute for Comparative Modernities, Cornell University and academic advisor to The Africa Institute.
FOCAL POINT is free and open to the public.
The full agenda can be found here.