Qatar Museums has concluded Pearls of Wonder: a digital era, an immersive digital art exhibition exploring Qatar's rich history of pearling through the lens of young Qatari artists working on 25 December 2021.
The exhibition - on view at the contemporary art space, Lavan541 from December 14-19, 2021, was curated by Qatar Museums' Curator of Contemporary Art, Dr. Bahaa Abudaya as part of the Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture, an annual international cultural exchange designed to deepen understanding between nations and their people.
Through new work of five Qatari artists, Pearls of Wonder: a digital era transported visitors on a journey back in time when Qatar was one of the largest pearl producers in the world. The audience had the opportunity to explore the significant role natural pearls played in shaping the economic history of the region as well as the nation's culture and traditions. The artists-Mohammed Faraj Al Suwaidi, Maryam Al Homaid, Alanoud Al Buainain, May Al Mannai and Saida Al Khulaif-are alumni of Qatar Museums' Fire Station, a contemporary art space committed to supporting artists through its Artist in Residence program, as well as engaging the local communities through events, exhibitions, and public art.
"We are thrilled to have brought the Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture program to a close with the innovative exhibition, Pearls of Wonder: a digital era," said Aisha Al Attiya, Director of Cultural Diplomacy Department, Qatar Museums. "By celebrating such a pivotal time in Qatar's development through digital installations crafted by local artists, we can share this important part of our heritage with others in the United States. Telling these stories in such a captivating way allows visitors to learn more about Qatar, and its incredible history, in a new and immersive way."
"As the curator of our artist-in-residency program at The Fire Station, I have the great pleasure of working with young and emerging Qatari artists as they discover their own voices through art and contribute to our burgeoning cultural landscape," said Dr. Bahaa Abudaya. "I'm delighted to have had the opportunity to share these artist's work outside of Doha and bring a piece of our culture to the United States through an exhibition highlighting an important part of our nation's history: our pearling industry."
"As we conclude the 2021 Year of Culture, the exchange between our two countries has been a reflection of brilliant artistry and has deepened our understanding of one another as we celebrated and reveled in the distinct artistic and cultural character of each nation,' stated Fatema Al Baker, Director of Public Diplomacy at the Embassy of the State of Qatar. "The history of Qatari pearls spans thousands of years, and they are praised all over the world for their exquisite beauty and quality. Pearls of Wonder' illuminated a rich tradition of pearl diving in new and visually stunning ways, and we are proud to have shared our history with the world while showcasing the remarkable talents of these five Qatari artists."
Qatar Museums (QM) has developed the "Years of Culture" initiative - an annual international cultural exchange designed to deepen understanding between nations and their people. Though the formal programming lasts only one year, the ties of friendship that are strengthened and formed are long-lasting. Culture is one of the most effective tools to bring people closer together, encourage dialogue, and deepen understanding between nations. Previous Years of Culture have included: Qatar-Japan 2012, Qatar-UK 2013, Qatar-Brazil 2014, Qatar-Turkey 2015, Qatar-China 2016, Qatar-Germany 2017, Qatar-Russia 2018, Qatar-India 2019, and Qatar-France 2020.
Cover image credit: Shutterstock
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