Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi 'honoured' to lead Biennale of Sydney 2026

sheikha hoor al qasimi 'honoured' to lead biennale of sydney 2026

Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi has been the director of the Sharjah Biennial since 2002. Photo: Sebastian Boettcher / Sharjah Art Foundation

Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi has been named the artistic director of the Biennale of Sydney.

Al Qasimi shared her joy after the appointment was announced, saying she will collaborate with local communities, artists and academics, while drawing on her international network to help develop the concept for the 2026 iteration.

“Sydney has a multicultural community at its core, with people from different cultures from across the world choosing and calling this vibrant city as their home,” says Al Qasimi. "I’m interested in exploring the multifaceted cultures and perspectives within this city, working with local artists and communities, as well as bringing new voices to the biennale.

“It is an honour and privilege to be nominated and then selected to be artistic director of the 25th Biennale of Sydney, which I have been visiting for over a decade now. I have seen the developments over the years, including the amplification of indigenous voices both local and global, which has made it an essential platform for rewriting art history.”

Taking place every two years, the next will run from March 7 until June 8, 2026. The first took place in 1973. It has grown to become one of the longest-running exhibitions of its kind and was the first biennale to be established in the Asia-Pacific region.

“Al Qasimi’s profound dedication to fostering international artistic and cultural exchange and her visionary approach to curatorial practice make her the perfect fit to lead the artistic direction of the Biennale of Sydney,” says Barbara Moore, chief executive of the Biennale of Sydney. "Her commitment to amplifying diverse voices and engaging with local communities aligns seamlessly with our mission to create a platform where art brings people together to connect and learn from each other in meaningful ways.”

Al Qasimi has extensive experience in the art scene. She is the president and director of the Sharjah Art Foundation, which she founded in 2009. She has also been the director of the Sharjah Biennial since 2002 and curated the critically acclaimed Sharjah Biennial 15 last year.

Other leading roles include being the president of the International Biennial Association in 2017; the Africa Institute, Global Studies University, Sharjah; and Sharjah Architecture Triennial.

She was recently appointed as the artistic director for the sixth Aichi Triennale 2025, becoming the first person outside Japan to be chosen. She has also co-curated exhibitions for the Serpentine Gallery in London and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

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