The Diasporic Imagination
    in the Sharjah Art Foundation Collection

    Deichtorhallen Hamburg
    28. October 2022 —
    12. March 2023

„My absence has been an exile from an exile“

– Etel Adnan | In the Heart of the Heart of Another Country


In the Heart of Another Country explores the concept of home—of longing, belonging, and rootedness— tracing a travelogue through multiple underrepresented sites, histories, and geographies within the art historical canon.

Drawing from the international collection of Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE, In the Heart of Another Country showcases the work of more than 60 artists through over 150 artworks in all media, many of which have rarely, if ever, been seen outside of their original context. The artists featured in the exhibition have traversed migratory routes from South and West Asia, through Africa, and the Caribbean. Recently restored installations are presented alongside contemporary acquisitions, which narrate a communal story of kinship amongst artists—one often developed against a backdrop of political turmoil and social unrest. In the Heart of Another Country embodies Sharjah Art Foundation’s critical role in advancing East-East and South-South understanding of art making, forging a meeting point— a connective tissue that nurtures a polyphonous and inclusive art history.

In an age of constant mobility, In the Heart of Another Country explores human experience through the creative output of three generations of artists who hail from multiple geographies, sites, and histories. Their journeys converge at a single meeting point: Sharjah, a port city in the UAE that extends across from the Arabian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman. Over the last 30 years, the Sharjah Biennial and since 2009, the Sharjah Art Foundation have functioned as a platform for artists who live or work in a geography commonly referred to as ‘the Global South’. The Foundation has accumulated an archive of contemporary thought and form generated by artists through commissions and exhibitions, performances and conversation, and its public collection of modern and contemporary art. These works endure an inter-textual record—a document of varied and collective histories, as well as propositions for the future.

Drawing inspiration from the late artist and author Etel Adnan’s landmark memoir, In the Heart of Another Country (2004), the exhibition charts sentiments of longing, memorial, homecoming and separation though a constellation of artworks that unfold across multitudinous borders, both real and imagined. The principles of place and placeless-ness are explored through myriad art forms—from tessellating architectural structures conceived by Saloua Raouda Choucair (1925-2017) to the sensuous abstraction found in the paintings of Huguette Caland (1931-2019), and the architectonic sculpture of Simone Fattal. These artworks are put into dialogue with plans by the likes of Marwan Rechmaoui, who conceives a restorative urban sphere for his native Lebanon, a country too often found in the grip of disrepair. The earth works of the enigmatic figure, Marcos Grigorian (1925-2007)—a multi-hyphenate whose biography is as multifaceted as his art, sit alongside Adam Henein’s (1929-2020) delicate drawings on papyrus. In-between these visual journeys are extensive presentations of the reconfigured body, as seen in self-portraits by Rasheed Araeen and Amal Kenawy (1974-2012)—their evocative images reveal the possibilities of distinguishing the self from perceptions of what was once dubbed as other.

The vanquished voice, a living archive, comes to life in Lawrence Abu Hamdan’s harrowing investigations inside an all-encompassing darkness. Through this gathering of stories, a sensorial choreography arises. In the Heart of Another Country lays plans for a re-imagining of context, whether on land, aboard ships, or from the multiple memories and experiences of artists. Home, in the end, is a proposition of becoming, of exploring the possibilities of what of being seen and heard.


The works featured in the exhibition, In the Heart of Another Country are brought together from the Sharjah Art Foundation Collection.

In the Heart of Another Country is organised by Deichtorhallen, Hamburg and Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE.

In the Heart of Another Country is curated by Dr Omar Kholeif, Director of Collections and Senior Curator, Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE.

Exhibition Designer and Architectural Consultant: Todd Reisz.


participating artists

    Introduction to the exhibition by curator Dr. Omar Kholeif

    3D Visuals

    • Zhat El Himma (2006)

      Simone Fattal

      view 3D

    • Sculpture No.2 (1965)

      Rasheed Araeen

      view 3D

    • Interform (1960 – 1962)

      Saloua Raouda Choucair

      view 3D

    • Pregnant Daughter (1991)

      Kamal Youssef 

      view 3D

    • Pattern 1 (1968 – 1969)

      Kamal Youssef 

      view 3D

    • Pattern 3 (1968 – 1969)

      EN Introtext zu Objekt Nr. 9

      view 3D

    • Pattern 5 (1968 – 1969)

      Kamal Youssef 

      view 3D

    • Bone in the China: Success to the Africa Trade (1985)

      Lubaina Himid

      view 3D

    • Bumps in the Road (2008)

      Huma Bhabha

      view 3D

    • Mini Faris (2016)

      Halil Altindere

      view 3D

    • Final Flight (2018–2019)

      Hrair Sarkissian

      view 3D

    Audio & Video

    Introduction englisch


    Introduction to the exhibition by curator Dr. Omar Kholeif

    TALKING ABOUT ART: Discussion with artists of the exhibition

    The Myths of Arab Art: The Beginning – An evening with Rasha Salti and Omar Kholeif


    06:00 PM


    The Myths of Arab Art: The Beginning – An evening with Rasha Salti and Omar Kholeif

    Free admission


    Opening hours

    Tuesday – Sunday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

    Extended opening hours:
    10–12 March 2023, 11 a.m.–9 p.m.

    Closed on mondays

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    Regular 12 Euros

    Reduced 7 Euros

    Tuesday ticket 6 Euros (Valid from 4 p.m.)

    Children and teenagers under 18 free

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    Public guided tours

    Saturdays and Sundays 4 p.m. (in German)

    Registration required at the ticket office on the day of the tour.

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    Deichtorstraße 1-2
    20095 Hamburg

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