In Shimabuku's Boat Trip audiences are invited to depart from Sharjah's heritage area and embark on an adventure across the water. As they hop on the abra, they are sat with Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi staff who work at Port Khalid. Simultaneously, they are able to meet Biennial guests from all around the world. In highlighting the comic, bizarre, and ultimately tasteful juxtapositions, upon arriving at Port Khalid, passengers are welcomed with salt and pepper infused vanilla ice-cream. The flavour in Shimabuku’s words, represents the peppered backgrounds of those who embark on an unlikely encounter together.
In a city that is generally socially conservative, encounters outside your race and gender are often limited to the service sector- for example going to shopping markets, or riding in taxis, leaving little opportunity to converse and learn from one another. The success in the art came through the fact that there was very little appropriation of what is a day-to-day occurrence in Sharjah. The subtle addition to the scene, in the form of strange flavoured ice cream, simply highlighted the bizarre in a comic, non-threatening way. The audience were automatically engaged – if they wanted to cross the water, they had to use the abra. If they wanted to use the abra, they automatically became part of the art piece.
Curated and commissioned by Yuko Hasagewa for Sharjah Biennial 11- Reemerge, Towards a New Cultural Cartography, the curator and Sharjah Art Foundation commissioned projects by artists, musicians, architects and performers ' whose artworks and practices resonate with strands of the curatorial theme: the complexity and diversity of cultures and societies; spatial and political relations; notions of new forms of contact, dialogue, and exchange; and production through art and architectural practices of new ways of knowing, thinking, and feeling.' Biennial participation is by invitation and will begin their research by conducting a site-visit to Sharjah and will then proceed to propose a new work based on their experience and practice. The works are then produced with the support of Sharjah Art Foundation's Production Team who comprise of architects, engineers and artists. Shimabuku's Boat Trip received funding from the Production Programme grant at Sharjah Art Foundation.
All copyright belongs to Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts, Shanghai University.