Two Qatari photographers travel to Germany as part of Year of Culture

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The second phase of the “Photographers Exchange Programme” between Qatari and German photographers took place in Germany this month. Two Qatari photographers selected to represent the country this year went on an expedition to explore German culture as part of the Qatar Germany 2017 Year of Culture.

The annual photography exchange programme is an integral part of every Year of Culture, designed to foster inter-cultural dialogue with other countries. For Qatar-Germany, Qatar Museums and the Goethe-Institut arranged for two German photographers to visit Qatar and two Qatari photographers to go on a photographic tour of Germany. The two German photographers, Gregor Schmidt and Louisa Marie Summer, visited Qatar in February while Manar and Abdulla are travelling through the main cities in Germany, including Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt and Munich, this month.

Commenting on the exhibition, Khalid Al-Ibrahim, Chief Strategic Planning Office at Qatar Museums said:

“The yearly photography exchange is one of the truest reflections of the Years of Culture initiative because it facilitates dialogue and interactions between representatives of two different cultures. The final selection of images is a stunning representation of insights gathered during the photographers’ individual tours. The photos we have seen from Louisa and Gregor have been quite striking and I am eager to see what Abdulla and Manar will develop.”

Under the theme “Reflections,” the exchange focuses on exploring the periphery to bring to light aspects of both countries that are not obvious to the typical tourist. Throughout the exchange programme, the German and Qatari photographers were encouraged to ask questions in their host countries and play these questions back into their own societies through imagery. The result is a visual documentation consisting of landscape and portrait photography that addresses important socio-political questions.

During a ten-day photography discovery tour in February 2017, the two German photographers had a chance to meet their Qatari counterparts and agree on an approach for their exploration tour through Qatar and later Germany. During the second half of the exchange, which took place this July, the two Qatari photographers visited Germany to tour various cities and regions and get to know Germany in its different facets, focusing on the “periphery” as a main topic.

At the culmination of the “Qatari-German Photographers’ Exchange” programme, a joint exhibition made up of select images produced by the four photographers will take place at the Katara Cultural Village in Doha towards the end of 2017. It will also be exhibited in Germany in December in cooperation with the German-Arab Friendship Association (DAFG).

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