The Sjarjah March Meeting is an annual debate forum of artists, art professionals and representatives from institutions concerned with art in the region and involved in its wider international context. It is held since 2008, as a stand-alone meeting event in even years, and to coincide with the Sharjah Biennial in odd years.
The March Meeting’s program consists of debates and exhibitions, the exhibitions being less extended than during a Biennial.
Due to a controversy over art works during the 2011 Sharjah Biennial (see for this the page on the Sharjah Biennial) Jack Persekian left. While initially his departure had been seen as possibly damaging for the Sharjah Arts Foundation and both its Biennial and March Meeting, the 2012 March Meeting edition proved that the concept behind them was still strong enough and many artists and other professionals participated.
The March Meeting of 2012 explored artistic commissions and residencies in a local, regional and international context. The March Meeting welcomes contributions from many different backgrounds. Because of its non-commercial and informal approach, the March Meeting is more of a free-haven than most other events in the region. Debate and meeting of minds is core to the event, rather than accessory. There is room for new and original viewpoints, making March Meeting a breeding ground for future players in the Middle East culture field. Despite the 2011 rift concerning the Biennial, the March Meeting still is the best forum in the region for any foreign professional committed to the arts and culture world of the Gulf and with fresh ideas.
In principle it is possible to attend the Sharjah Biennial and March Meeting ss well as the Dubai Sikka Art Fair and Art Dubai. There has incidentally been some unfortunate overlap in the past between the March Meeting and the Doha Mathaf part of the Global Art Forum, for those who would aim to see most of the events in March in the region. For 2013 the overlap has been reduced, the March Meeting running from March 13 to 17, and Art Forum in Doha starting on March 17, so those who wish so can attend the various events with only a problem for one day.