Event: March Meeting – 3-Day Cultural Symposium on ongoing and future art and cultural initiatives by professionals from across the globe
Hosted by: Sharjah Art Foundation
Dates: 13 – 15 March 2011
Location: Sharjah, UAE
The Sharjah Art Foundation invited SPARCK as one of 42 institutions, artists and art professionals to present on artistic practice and production in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) region and beyond. At this fourth annual March Meeting, Kadiatou Diallo introduced SPARCK’s recent South South Conversations: Chocolat Banane, the project created by Goddy Leye and Bill Kouélany in Gunagzhou, China (January 2010); the IMAG[IN]ING CITIES event that had just taken place in Karachi, Pakistan and Stacy Hardy’s Dubai residency in May 2011.
About the March Meeting
In its 4th year the March Meeting is looking towards a new landscape of networking and cross-disciplinary inter-regional associations. We have consciously expanded beyond the framework of the Arab world that informed the March Meeting’s initial focus or targeted constituency. We have widened our scope to reach out to south Asia, as we believe this region is an integral part of the cultural makeup of our local context. We have extended an invitation to cultural funding bodies and government officials to share with us their ideas and plans for the future, and to shed light on what sort of initiatives they intend to support and consequentially which they are happy to let fade away. Remarkably few funders acted on our invitation, the majority opting to keep their thoughts and plans to themselves. Nevertheless, at the core of our endeavour is the weave of relations and the sharing of information amongst the professionals and the people on the ground, which we believe is imperative for any progress in this field. A new approach focusing on ongoing and future projects was introduced last year to the framework of the March Meeting. This has allowed us to strengthen and encourage peer support and helped to reorient the dynamics that drive inter-disciplinary and cross-regional collaboration. Notwithstanding all of the above, the March Meeting has emerged as a vital context for individuals and institutions to communicate their ideas and aspirations in a free and transparent environment, unimpeded by concerns of rivalry, power, dominance and un-productive notions of ‘trade’ secrecy. (Director’s Statement)
The March Meeting included visits to Art Dubai and the Sharjah Biennial. The latter has recently been in the media for controversy around the dismissal of Sharjah Art Foundation Director Jack Persekian and the censorship of artworks in the Sharjah Biennial.