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Stephanie Comilang, Search for life, still


Presentation: Sharjah Biennial 16 and Stephanie Comilang’s new project Search for Life. Diptych (2024-2025)



Ocean Space
Admission fee
Free of charge

This event is a collaboration between TBA21 and Sharjah Art Foundation.

Ocean Space hosts a presentation marking TBA21 and Sharjah Art Foundation’s collaboration for the upcoming Sharjah Biennial 16 alongside a panel with Sharjah Biennial co-curators.

Artist Stephanie Comilang will be in conversation with Biennial co-curator Amal Khalaf and TBA21 Associate Curator Chus Martinez about Comilang’s new project Search for Life. Diptych (2024 – 2025), commissioned by TBA21, Sharjah Art Foundation and The Vega Foundation. The work’s first episode premiered at Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza on March 4 and will be on view until May 26. The second episode will be presented at Sharjah Biennial 16 opening February 6, 2025.

The conversation will be followed by presentations and discussion with Khalaf and Sharjah Biennal 16 co-curators Natasha Ginwala, Alia Swastika and Megan Tamati-Quennell who will share a selection of their upcoming projects for the Biennial and insights on their curatorial frameworks.

The programme will begin with an introduction by Hoor Al Qasimi, Director of Sharjah Art Foundation, and Markus Reymann, co-director of TBA21.


  • 11am | Introduction by Hoor Al Qasimi, Director of Sharjah Art Foundation, and Markus Reymann, co-director of TBA21
  • 11:10am | Conversation between artist Stephanie Comilang, Sharjah Biennial 16 co-curator Amal Khalaf, and curator Chus Martínez
  • 11:30am | Panel with Sharjah Biennal 16 co-curators

Mousse Magazine & Publishing will be present with a pop-up bookstore as Ocean Space's Media Partner.


Hoor Al Qasimi is President and Director of Sharjah Art Foundation, the independent public arts organisation she established in 2009 as a catalyst and advocate for the arts, in Sharjah, UAE, and around the world. Director of Sharjah Biennial since 2003, she has curated and co-curated major exhibitions for the Foundation and numerous international institutions, including the critically acclaimed Sharjah Biennial 15: Thinking Historically in the Present (2023), the major touring retrospective Hassan Sharif: I Am The Single Work Artist (2017–2018), and solo exhibitions for artists Tarek Atoui, Simon Fattah, Rasheed Araeen, Kusama Yayoi, Farideh Lashai and Khalil Rabah. Al Qasimi also serves as President of the International Biennial Association, The Africa Institute, Sharjah, Director of the Sharjah Architecture Triennial and head of Sharjah’s newly established Global Studies University. Al Qasimi curated the 2020 Lahore Biennial and has been appointed Artistic Director of the 6th Aichi Triennale in 2025.

Markus Reymann is Co-Director of TBA21 Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Con - temporary which is based in Madrid, where the foundation works in asso - ciation with Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza and has its other important poles of action in Venice and Jamaica. In 2011, together with Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza, Markus co-founded TBA21–Academy, the foundation’s research arm, fostering a deeper relationship with the Ocean and other bodies of water by working as an incubator for collaborative inquiry, artistic production, and environmental advocacy. Since 2019, TBA21 Academy has hosted exhibitions, research, educational and public programs at Ocean Space in Venice.

Stephanie Comilang is an artist living and working in Berlin. Her documentary-based works create narratives that look at how our understandings of mobility, capital, and labor on a global scale are shaped through various cultural and social factors. Her work has been shown at the Tate Modern, Hamburger Bahnhof, Tai Kwun Hong Kong, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Julia Stoschek Collection, and Haus der Kunst. She was awarded the 2019 Sobey Art Award, Canada’s most prestigious art prize for artists 40 years and younger.

Chus Martínez is head of the Institute Art Gender Nature FHNW Academy of Arts and Design in Basel. She was the expedition leader of The Current, a project initiated by TBA21–Academy (2018–2020) and between 2020-2022 she has been the artistic director of the Ocean Space, Venice, a space initiated by TBA21–Academy. The Current is also the inspiration behind Art is Ocean, a series of seminars and conferences held at the Institute Art Gender Nature which examines the role of artists in the conception of a new experience of nature. At the Institute Art Gender Nature she is currently leading the research project The Gender’s Factor, on the role of education in enhancing women’s equality in the arts. She remains as associate curator of TBA21–Academy as well as curator at large at The Vuslat Foundation in Istambul.

Amal Khalaf is curator, artist, Director at Cubitt and Curator at Large, Public Practice, at the Serpentine Galleries, both in London. Here and in other contexts she has developed residencies, exhibitions and collaborative research projects at the intersection of arts and social justice. Recent projects at the Serpentine include the launch of Support Structures for Support Structures (2021), Radio Ballads (2019–2022) and Sensing the Planet (2021). She curated the Bahrain Pavilion for the 58th Venice Biennale (2019) and co-directed the Global Art Forum at Art Dubai (2016). She is a trustee of Mophradat, Athens, and not/nowhere, London, and a founding member of the GCC art collective. Her work, exhibitions and research have also been presented at MoMA PS1, New York; Sharjah Art Foundation; Whitney Biennial, New York; Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris; Berlin Biennale; Fridericianum, Kassel; and New Museum, New York, among many others.

Natasha Ginwala is curator, researcher, writer and Artistic Director of COLOMBOSCOPE, Colombo (2019–ongoing). She also served Associate Curator at Large at Gropius Bau, Berlin (2018–2024) and as Artistic Director of the 13th Gwangju Biennale (2021) with Defne Ayas. Ginwala has been part of curatorial teams for Contour Biennale 8 (2017), documenta 14 (2017), 8th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art (2014) and 8th Taipei Biennial (2012). She co-curated international exhibitions at e-flux, Sharjah Art Foundation, Hamburger Bahnhof - Nationalgalerie der Gegenwart, ifa Gallery, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, L’ appartement 22, Muzeum Sztuki w Łodzi, MCA Chicago, 56th Venice Biennale, SAVVY Contemporary and Zeitz MOCAA. Ginwala is a widely published author with a focus on contemporary art, visual culture and social justice.

Alia Swastika is a curator, researcher and writer whose practice over the last 10 years has expanded on issues and perspectives of decoloniality and feminism. Her different projects involve decentralising art, rewriting art history and encouraging local activism. She works as the Director of the Biennale Jogja Foundation, Yogyakarta, and continues her research on Indonesian female artists during Indonesia’s New Order. She established and was Program Director for Ark Galerie, Yogyakarta (2007–2017). She was co-curator for the Biennale Jogja XI Equator #1 (2011); co-artistic director of the 9th Gwangju Biennale (2012); and roundtable curator for contemporary art exhibitions for the Europalia Arts Festival (2017), including presentations at Oude Kerk, Amsterdam; M HKA, Antwerp; and SMAK Ghent, Belgium. Her research on Indonesian women artists during the New Order was published in 2019.

Megan Tamati-Quennell is a curator, writer and researcher with a focus in the field of modern and contemporary Māori and Indigenous art, with 33 years of art curatorial experience. She has held positions at Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington, New Zealand, and at the Govett Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, New Zealand. Tamati-Quennell is of Te Ātiawa, Ngāi Tahu and Kāti Māmoe Māori descent. Her research interests include contemporary Māori art; Māori modernism; Māori women artists, 1930 to today; international First Nations art; Māori, international First Nations and non-western art in transnational contexts; and First Nations art curatorial praxis.