SHARJAH – The Sharjah Museums Authority (SMA) is celebrating 25 years since the inauguration of the Sharjah Museum of Art, which opened in April 1997 to preserve and promote the arts.
The purpose-built museum, which offers free entry to all, is surrounded by old traditional buildings which are being preserved by the government of Sharjah as part of its mission to pass on the heritage and rich history of the emirate to generations. future.
Located on Sharjah Corniche Street in the Al Shuwaiheen area, the first museum of its kind in the Gulf region has encouraged creativity by providing a platform to exhibit the works of established and emerging artists from the UAE, the region and the world.
Dedicated to providing visitors with a rich experience, the museum has over the years positioned itself as one of the most important cultural and artistic destinations locally, regionally and internationally.
From exhibitions to free programs and special events, online and onsite, the museum has not only supported the nation’s and region’s art scenes, but also enabled art lovers around the world to discover and explore the dynamic expressions of Arab and international artists through more than 300 works exhibited in 64 halls.
Visitors can also gain insight into the development of the art movement in the Arab region through selected works of art from the collection of the Barjeel Art Foundation on display at the museum.
Additionally, the museum library offers over 4,000 books in Arabic and English on artists and art history as well as other genres such as design, photography, sculpture and architecture. .
The museum has always been part of Sharjah’s great contemporary art exhibition and also hosts the annual Sharjah Islamic Arts Festival, organized by the Sharjah Department of Culture.
Many notable exhibitions held by the museum include the annual Emirates Fine Arts Society exhibition and SMA’s ‘Lasting Impressions’ annual exhibition series which was launched in 2011 to showcase the works of the most distinguished artists. from the Arab region.
In addition to holding temporary exhibitions, the museum presents a permanent gallery with masterpieces from the famous Orientalist collection of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi.
It features an impressive permanent collection of modern Arabic art including works by artists such as Abdulqader Al Rais, Louay Kayali, Mona Saudi, Najat Mekky, Bashir Sinwar, and Faiq Hassan, among others.
It also organizes an annual series of free dynamic programs including activities, discussion sessions and interactive workshops targeting families and children, while regularly organizing various community programs specially designed for children with disabilities.
It also offers free tours by guides fluent in several languages, including Arabic and English.
And as SMA seeks to safely engage the public, it responded quickly during restrictions on movement due to the spread of Covid-19 by launching a virtual tour of the halls of the Sharjah Museum of Art showcasing more than 100 paintings and works of art.
After a quarter of a century since it opened its doors, the museum pursues its objectives which are focused on spreading a culture of creativity, preserving heritage and highlighting its importance in people’s lives. all of which are in line with the vision and directives of His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.
“The Sharjah Museum of Art is the first and oldest purpose-built museum in the United Arab Emirates, established by HH Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah in 1997. It has played a fundamental role in providing a platform for artists across the region to exhibit their work at a time when they had no dedicated space to showcase their talent,” said Manal Ataya, Managing Director of the Sharjah Museums Authority.
“Today, we continue to support Arab artists and make efforts to provide them with greater visibility through exhibitions and publications. We are also engaging with our audience of families and school children, ensuring that that they have the opportunity to learn more about art and enhance their creativity through workshops and other programs,” Ataya concluded.