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Posted On: 25 February 2013 12:11 pm
Updated On: 11 January 2022 08:27 am

‘Arts and disability’ fest @Katara

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The first “arts and disability festival” in the Middle East, organised jointly by the British Council and the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage , will open at the Katara Cultural Village on March 15 and run until March 30.
At a joint press conference , Martin Hope, Director of British Council, said the festival would not only be a great opportunity to see contemporary British art, but would also provide an important forum for discussion about the issue of disability, and how it affected individuals and families both within the arts sector and society at large.
He also mentioned the social function of art in a society.
“The arts and disability combine to form an interesting proposition. It’s entirely valid to question whether there is anything intrinsically different about a piece of art created by a deaf or disabled artist, as opposed to a piece created by anyone else.
“At the same time, art has an important social function, to provoke thought and raise awareness about difficult issues,” Hope said.
He thanked the ministry officials and Katara Cultural Village for hosting the event.
Abdularahman al-Hajiri, Director of Youth Activities Department, said the festival was one of the most important programmes that the Ministry of Arts, Culture and Heritage was participating in as part of the Qatar UK 2013.
“Qatar-UK 2013 Year of Culture is the first festival of its kind to celebrate British and Qatari culture, showcasing the quality, diversity, breadth and innovation of creative Britain and Qatar.”
Al-Hajiri said the festival had been selected from Unlimited, the largest-ever celebration and exploration of disability arts and comes as a result of the ministry’s partnership with British Council.
Unlimited was a major element of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, which ran in parallel with the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games last summer.
“We aim through this festival to raise awareness about arts for disabled people as it is important for the youth department to highlight the development of people with disabilities and engaging them in the society,” al-Hajiri said.
An exciting programme of dance, music, live performances, exhibitions, installations, films, talks and workshops was announced. About 50 events have been planned.
All works in the festival have been created by leading British deaf and disabled artists, and it will be the first time they will travel outside the UK. Around seven artists from the UK are expected to participate in the event.
Highlights include Fusional Fragments, a new work of five dancers, created by Marc Brew in collaboration with composer Philip Sheppard. It features the world-famous percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie fresh from her role in the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony.
When asked why no Qatari artists were participating in the event, al-Hajiri said this was the first time that a festival of such nature was being held in Qatar.
He hoped that when the British artists arrive in the country, they would collaborate with Qatari artists and in the future their work too would be highlighted in such festivals.
The Qatar-UK 2013 has a year of events to celebrate and develop the partnership between the two countries in arts, education, science and sports.
Qatar-UK 2013 follows the success of Qatar-Japan 2012. It is being developed in partnership with Qatar’s Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage, Qatar Museums Authority, Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, the British Council and the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Gulf Times