Sharjah Art Foundation Focuses on Film With $200,000 in Awards For Artists, Including the Star of "Pi"

Sharjah Art Foundation Focuses on Film With $200,000 in Awards For Artists, Including the Star of "Pi"
Sharjah Art Foundation's March Meeting open call
(Photo by Plamen Galabov)

SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates — On Monday evening in Sharjah, the three-day-long intellectual incubator known as the March Meeting culminated with the announcement of the Sharjah Art Foundation’s 2012 Production Program grant recipients. Three artists — Sean Gullette, Mario Rizzi, and Lindsay Seers — will split the $200,000 award. They were selected from a pool of artists who applied through an open call process, judged by PS1 curator Peter Eleey, artist Isak Berbic, and Sharjah Art Foundation President Hoor Al Qasimi. While the Production Program is open to artists working within any media, including sculpture and performance, the winners of the 2012 honor share an affinity for film. 

Gullette — born in the U.S. and currently based in Tangiers — is known as a prolific screenwriter (he co-wrote and starred in Darren Aronofsky’s "Pi," among many other credits.) He was commissioned to produce work for the 2010 Sharjah Biennial; the result was the 30-minute short "Traitors." Gullette will use his share of the Production Program grant to adapt the short into a feature-length form.

The Italian-born, Berlin-based Rizzi also works in film. The Production Program funding will allow him to complete a project entitled "Bayt," which he describes in press materials as an HD-video work “concentrating on small events and memories in the life of those forgotten or ignored people who are playing a valuable role in imagining a new Arab civil society in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain and Syria.”

Seers, an artist born and working in England, won for her proposal to complete "Monocular 2," a film-based installation. “Monocular 2 will be housed in a structure that sculpturally refers to the ships that traded in the Indian Ocean at the end of the 1800’s,” she writes in press materials. “The work is based on a number of geographical co-ordinates and particular individuals in England, Zanzibar, Australia, and the Gulf.”

The announcement of these Production Program recipients caps off the March Meeting, which featured dynamic presentations and conversations among international art world professionals — including Hans Ulrich Obrist, Eungie Joo, Yasmina Reggad, Negar Azimi (of Bidoun magazine), Williams Wells (the Cairo-based founder and director of Townhouse Gallery), Alanna Heiss, Yazid Anani, Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, Sheikha Hoor Al-Qasimi, Peter Eleey, and dozens of other creative and institutional players.