Sharjah Art Foundation ties up with Sharjah Cricket Academy to host two-day tourney

The Sharjah Art Foundation will be hosting a junior cricket tournament in collaboration with the Sharjah Cricket Academy in Al Mureijah Square on May 26 and 27, 2023.

During the two-day tournament, players from the Sharjah Cricket Academy, ages 7–11, will compete to reactivate Gary Simmons’ public art project ‘Across the Chalk Line’ (2015). Created for ‘Sharjah Biennial 12: The Past, the Present, the Possible’ (2015), the site-specific installation is designed in the form of a junior-sized cricket oval.

Apart from providing a playing field for children, the artwork invites viewers to cross the boundary into the realm of cricket to ponder not only the beauty of the game but also its social and political potential.

As part of its long-running and sustained commitment to the community, the Foundation looks to reactivate permanent public projects and site-specific installations from not just the current edition of the Biennial but previous ones as well.
“Sharjah is home to cricket enthusiasts of all ages. We believe that by hosting cricket tournaments, we strengthen the spirit of sportsmanship while bringing to life the artwork and making it accessible to the local communities. Our partnership with Sharjah Cricket demonstrates our commitment to further cultivate the rich culture of Sharjah and the UAE by promoting a participatory approach to art,” says Noora Al Mualla, Director of Learning and Research at Sharjah Art Foundation.

“I would like to extend my heartfelt wishes to the Sharjah Cricket Academy team as they gear up for the upcoming Junior Cricket tournament collaborated with Sharjah Cricket, which is being hosted by Sharjah Art Foundation. This collaboration is truly a wonderful initiative by Sharjah Art Foundation to develop grassroots level cricket. I am thrilled to see such efforts being made to promote the sport and provide opportunities for young talent to showcase their skills. We are proud to be a part of this endeavor and wish all the participating teams the very best. Sharjah Cricket is thrilled to be partnered with Sharjah Art Foundation to develop Grass Root Level Cricket in the region,” commented Khalaf Bukhatir, CEO at Sharjah Cricket.

Taking place from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm, the event is free and open to the public.

Public art project

Expanding on Gary Simmons’ interest in drawing and sport as well as addressing a popular pastime of youths across Sharjah, ‘Across the Chalk Lin’e (2015) is a public art project in the form of a junior-sized cricket oval designed for neighborhood children.

A quote from CLR James’ 1963 book ‘Beyond a Boundary’ demarcates the field’s boundary in four languages, asking ‘What do they know of cricket who only cricket know?’

The question is inspired by a line from Rudyard Kipling’s 1891 poem ‘The English Flag’: ‘What do they know of England who only England know?’ The quote, rendered in Arabic, English, Malayalam, and Urdu, questions what those who play the game understand about its cultural and political significance.

Simmons seeks to inspire viewers to question the significance of cricket with regard to race and class, both in their homeland and abroad, and to look beyond the rules of the game and consider its broader political meaning.

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