Qatar Foundation held a Utility Boxes Art contest in 2022 where artists residing in Qatar were given a chance to transform boxes in Oxygen Park into canvases. The winners’ artworks will be on display for the next three years in various locations of the park located in Education City.
This initiative aimed for an art intervention in public spaces to enhance the beauty and vibrancy of the park using an existing platform. The six winners of the competition had their artworks refined, produced, and installed by Qatar Foundation (QF).
Maha Al-Kuwari, one of the six winners, appreciated the support that QF avails to established and emerging artists. The Qatari artist, who works for the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, is especially grateful that her artwork is being showcased during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 as public art enhances a tourist’s experience, and is freely accessible.
“The World Cup provides an opportunity for artists to inspire millions of people through artistic expression especially since the art scene in Qatar continues to emerge and thrive,” she said. “During my brainstorming process, I considered what could enhance the beauty of the park even more. The idea of drawing animals that inhabit Qatar’s ecosystem came to mind. I wanted the visitors to get a glimpse of the wildlife in Qatar.”
Shaikha Al-Thani, a sophomore at Qatar Foundation partner university Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts Qatar majoring in painting and printmaking, says nature and flora are the sources of her inspiration. She specifies Qataf, which is Qatar’s national flower, as her muse.
“As a Qatari artist, I wanted to draw something that reflected my country’s identity. I was surprised to know that a lot of people weren’t aware of Qataf’s significance to Qatar’s history and culture,” she said.
Eugene Espinosa, a visual and senior graphic artist, explains how the inspiration behind his artwork is Qatar’s unique selection of wildlife. “My artwork, Flamingos Series, was inspired by a newspaper article I read one morning. I was amazed that there is so much more you could see in Qatar beyond the Arabian oryx and gazelles. You can see flamingos in Purple Island, which they consider as their resting spot from during their travels from Europe to Siberia and Africa.”
Nada Khozestani finds her artistic inspiration from her unique experience as a woman.
“I find inspiration for my artworks from culture but mostly from women in my society. Giving us, new female artists, an opportunity to flourish is one of the key steps to enhancing art and society in Qatar.”
The competition saw many entries from both Qatari and expatriate artists across different age groups, with the youngest entry submitted by an 11-year-old and the oldest from a 47-year-old artist.
For Nidheesh Anand, a 3D visualizer, the belief that art connects future generations with the stories of others, his inspiration is to share his own tale.
“Art is connected with emotions. It can tell many stories with no words. That’s what I think the power of an artist is. We could be the next Picasso, Da Vinci, or Michelangelo. Who knows?”
Ben Gaskell, 32, finds his inspiration from the culture and religion of the Qatari people who he takes great pride in living amongst after 4 years in the country. He considers the opportunity to have his art highlighted such a once-in-a-lifetime chance.
“As an artist, it is very difficult to display your work to a large audience. Even with the availability of social media, unless you have a large following, your work will often go unnoticed. Investing in having your work displayed at a gallery can be daunting and expensive. This QF project is priceless to artists.”
Source: Qatar Foundation press release
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