A flying saucer


Sheikha Hoor bint Sultan Al Qasimi and her Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF) does fantastic broad range of contemporary art and cultural programmes to the communities of Sharjah and UAE in general. If you are visiting UAE, please make time to head down to SAF buildings in Sharjah to see their current installations.

Back in 1978, a new ‘shopping complex’ opened up in Sharjah in the shape of a flying saucer. The premises had a restaurant with a drugstore, pharmacy, newsagent, tobacconist, gift shop, patisserie and delicatessen together in a one-stop-shop.

For a relatively young country, Sharjah, whose history dates back to 60s and 70s, this is an important building. It was Sheikha Hoor’s decision to renovate and convert it into a temperary exhibition space for exhibits showcased as part of the UAE pavilion at the 56th International Art Exhibition, Venice Biennale 2015.

The exhibition had a diverse collection of artworks from to different era. A brief look into the history of the artist community in Sharjah and UAE. Once could see selected work of Emirati artists, namely: Ahmed Al Ansari, Mousa Al Halyan, Abdul Qadel Al Rayyis, Abdullah Al Saadi, Mohammed Al Qassab, Mohammed Abdullah Bou Lehya, Salem Johar, Abdul Rahman Zeinel, Abdul Raheem Salem, Obaid Suroor, Hassan Sharif, Mohammed Kadhem, Dr. Najat Makki and Dr. Mohammed Yousef.

It also had one of the oldest painting made in this region back in 1968, “Al Fareej” by artist Ahmed Al Ansari, and he used wood and oil colors, while the second painting, “Al Intithar” (Waiting) by artist Abdul Qader Al Rayyis, who used oil colors on canvas.

Unfortunately the exhibition got over on 14th of May 2016 and I could only find time to post this now.

The space inside with its very high dome ceiling, exposed concrete along with the dominating column does give the feeling of a futuristic space. Unfortunately no one seems to know who the architect for this building was.

The interiors space transforms into a stage where the dominating cloums and sunlight playes hide and seek. This made me think of Louis Kahn’s famous quote “The Sun does not realise how wonderful it is until after a room is made.”

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