This essay reviews the twelfth iteration of the Sharjah Biennial, 2015, a major event in the international art calendar and the most significant fulcrum of cultural and artistic activities in the Middle East and North Africa. I examine how curator Eungie Joo articulated her theme of The Past, the Present, the Possible by looking closely at the exhibits and some of the key issues that framed the conversations during the March Meeting, the ancillary talk shop event that is as important as the various exhibitions. I explore selected works that either mirror the arc of art history from a Middle Eastern perspective or address some of the critical issues that are emblematic of our contemporary world. Finally, I consider how the biennial disrupts and/or affirms the typological structures and narratives that shape our understanding and experience of art biennials—what some scholars have described as the biennialization of contemporary art and of the art world.

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