Sharjah Art Foundation announced the winners of the 2022 Publishing Grant during this year’s Focal Point Art Book Fair last week – LIBERATION RADIO by Chimurenga; Between the Brush and the Archive by Abdullah Al-Mutairi; and The Spectre of Ancestors Becoming by RAW Material Company and Tuan Andrew Nguyen.
Selected by Hoor Al Qasimi, President and Director of Sharjah Art Foundation, the winning projects will be co-published by the Foundation and released during Focal Point 2023 and 2024.
Sharjah Art Foundation gives its Publishing Grant winners a total of $30,000 plus publishing and distribution support. The grant is for printed matter that stands out for its intellectual, graphic and material qualities; projects are assessed on their contribution to the production of original ideas and critical thinking, and how innovative their approach to publishing is.
There were almost 400 responses to the international open call, double last year’s total. Proposals came from artists, writers, editors, researchers, magazines, zines, collectives, collaborative research projects, museums, publishing houses, journals and non-profit cultural organisations. Nearly half were in Arabic, and 70 percent were submitted under the Experimental Publications category.
LIBERATION RADIO explores broadcasting and cultural initiatives by African liberation movements in their struggle against colonialism and apartheid in the Swahili and Central African regions. It charts their connections to anti-colonial movements across the continent, such as Nasserism in Egypt and independence movements in French-occupied Algeria.
Chimurenga is a pan-African platform for free ideas and political reflection about Africa by Africans founded by Ntone Edjabe in 2002. Its output can take different forms – writing, art, politics – and draws together multiple voices from across Africa and the diaspora.
Abdullah Al-Mutairi’s Between the Brush and the Archive looks at Kuwaiti artist Khalifa Al-Qattan’s personal archive from the 1950s till the late 1970s. To be published in Arabic and English in a limited print run of 300 copies, the book shows how Al-Qattan’s practice exemplified the experimental and counter-cultural energy prevalent in Kuwait at the onset of the country’s modernisation.
An artist and writer based in Kuwait, Al-Mutairi is part of the contemporary art collective GCC. His work has been exhibited at institutions such as Sharjah Art Foundation, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Fridericianum in Kassel.
The Spectre of Ancestors Becoming focuses on the Vietnamese-Senegalese diaspora, built from the French colonial enterprise that recruited Senegalese riflemen to fight for the French in the First Indochina War (1946–1954). Exploring the relationship between the men and the Vietnamese women they met, this community-sourced publication, growing out of a collaboration with the existing diaspora, sheds light on the stories of the community’s female figures and their role in the Senegalese social fabric.
Tuan Andrew Nguyen is an artist who explores strategies of political resistance enacted through counter-memory and post-memory. RAW Material Company, an arts initiative based in Dakar, is involved with curatorial practice, artistic education, residencies, knowledge production and archiving of theory and criticism on art.