Ministry of Graphic Design: Fikra Graphic Design Biennial 01, 2018
Collaborator: Prem Krishnamurthy, Emily Smith (artistic directors), Salem Al-Qassimi, Maryam Al-Qassimi (organizers), Alia Al-Sabi, Hala Al-Ani, Uzma Z. Rizvi, common-interest, Tetsuya Goto (curators)
Exhibition title: Fikra Graphic Design Biennial 01
Venue: Bank of Sharjah, Sharjah, AE
Graphic design forms an integral part of contemporary life, shaping every message and communication we encounter in both overt and embedded ways. The exhibition “Ministry of Graphic Design” proposes an experimental approach to the field. The inaugural Fikra Graphic Design Biennial 2018 gathers over forty hybrid practitioners, independent initiatives, collective voices, enthusiastic newcomers, and others whose practice engages with design. Their projects are juxtaposed with historical work from both the region and the world.
Through independent or commissioned projects, the participants in this exhibition help build context and community. Spanning urgent narratives, participatory systems, research-based approaches, conceptual reflections, and historical re-framings, the Ministry’s broad scope suggests the unique value of the graphic designer’s interdisciplinary perspective.
The exhibition’s title refers to other innovation-focused administrative structures and positions in the UAE, such as the Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence or Minister of State for Happiness. Adopting such governmental naming, the Ministry of Graphic Design has developed discrete Departments focused on specific ideas, themes, or time periods. Distributed over five floors, the Department of Graphic Optimism, Department of Non-Binaries, Department of Flying Saucers, Department of Dematerializing Language, Department of Mapping Margins, and the Office of the Archive each present their programs through a diversity of display formats that mirror the complexity of the discipline. The Ministry’s open-ended approach sets the stage for considering graphic design beyond its fast-paced commercial definitions as a broader social and cultural field of action.
/ Artistic statement by Prem Krishnamurthy, Emily Smith, Na Kim