Qatar Year of Culture today announced the Portland, Oregon iteration of JEDARIART, a public art initiative that brings Qatari artists and mural art to the U.S., as part of Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture, an annual international cultural exchange designed to deepen understanding between nations and their people.
In partnership with the Portland Street Art Alliance (PSAA), Qatari artist Fatima Al-Sharshani will paint a new mural on a building wall located at 636 SE 10th Ave. The featured work, entitled The Never Ending You is an expression of continuity and infinity. Al-Sharshani has been working in calligraphy art since 2011and is the founder of Qaif, a calligraphy company. The Never Ending You is an abstract piece that merges Arabic letters into a shape of a circle, representing continuity. The inner depth of the circle is a sensory expression that sparks a notion of infinity, and the never-ending power that lives within us.
Similar to JEDARIART, the Portland Street Art Alliance was created to advance street art culture and empower artists to activate the spaces where they live and work. Fatima’s artwork will be a part of a larger program to update and revamp building walls within the Central Eastside Industrial District and will be located alongside murals by local artists including John Vance, Daniel Santollo, Jade Sturms, Sunny Beard, Isis Fisher, Jesus Torralba, Rupezzy, and more.
“We are so excited to continue the JEDARIART program throughout the United States,” said Aisha Al Attiya, Head of QM’s Years of Culture. “By introducing talented Qatar-based artists like Fatima Al-Sharshani to the U.S., we’re continuing to build the Years of Culture program and create a mutual partnership and understanding between the U.S. and Qatar cultures.”
“I am incredibly proud and grateful for this opportunity to represent my country, Qatar, abroad in the Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture,” shared Fatima Al-Sharshani. “I am honored to share my story through art and highlight the beauty of Arabic calligraphy on the walls of Portland.”
JEDARIART is an annual program in Qatar developed by Qatar Museums under the patronage of its Chairperson Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani in 2020 to add vibrancy and meaning to the walls of Doha through murals, encouraging individuals to reflect on social, historical, and cultural conversations. In selecting creatives for the initiative, Qatar Museums launched an Open Call inviting aspiring and established artists in Doha to submit a proposal. In addition to Nada Khozestani, whose mural “Ladies in Batoola” is currently on view at the Doha Fire Station, selected 2020 participants included Mubarak Al Malik, Huda Basahal, Noura Al Mansoori, Dimitrije Bugarski, Sharefa Al Mannai, Thamer Al Dossari, Muna Al Bader, Fatima Al Sharshani, Michael Perrone, Maryam Al Maadhadi, Shuaa Al Kuwari, Abdulaziz Yousef, Abdulla Al Emadi, Alanoud Al Ghamdi, Haifa Al Khuzaei and Aisha Al Fadhala. This is the first year JEDARIART is traveling internationally, as a part of the Year of Culture initiative.
Through Qatar’s long-standing commitment to making art accessible outside the walls of museums where is can be appreciated as part of everyday life, Qatar Museums has installed a diverse range of works by some of Qatar’s most recognized artists and by celebrated international artists throughout Doha—along the Corniche, at Souq Waqif and the Q-R Rail Stations, in Education City, and at Hamad International Airport, and in the Qatar desert where cultural tourists and residents alike trek to see East-West/West-East, a monumental sculpture by Richard Serra outside the city of Zekreet.
Following the Portland, Oregon programming, JEDARIART will travel to several other U.S. cities. Each stop of the tour will feature a different artist from Qatar working in a variety of styles, all of which celebrate the Qatari culture and traditions and inspire curiosity and discussion through beautifully unique pieces.
JEDARIART is just one of the many programs that will be presented in the United States and Qatar this year. The 2021 Year of Culture program will continue to debut virtual and in-person events, including exhibitions and installations of works by Qatari and American artists; events showcasing the music, film, and fashion of both countries; sporting events; culinary experiences; entrepreneurship, innovation, STEM, and business events; and educational programs.
All past, present, and future exhibitions, programs, and events will be featured on the official Years of Culture website, http://www.yearsofculture.qa.
Under the leadership of its Chairperson Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, 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.
The Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture follows the signing of a cooperative agreement on 14 September 2020 during the 2020 Qatar-United States Strategic Dialogue in Washington, D.C between Qatari Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister His Excellency Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and His Excellency, the former Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo. This year’s program was inaugurated at the Katara Opera House on 16 January with a special concert by the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra and the U.S. Air Forces Central Band (AFCENT), with a special piece composed by Dana al-Fardan and performed by the AFCENT band. Led by Joo Young Oh, the recently appointed Concertmaster of the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, the program, which began with the national anthems of both countries, featured a variety of Qatari and American compositions.
Qatar-United States 2021 Year of Culture is planned in collaboration with leading institutions in Qatar and the United States, including Qatar Museums, the Embassy of Qatar in the United States, the Embassy of the United States in Qatar, Qatar's Ministry of Culture and Sport, Qatar Foundation, the National Tourism Council, Doha Film Institute, Qatar National Library, Katara, the Qatar America Institute for Culture (QAIC), the Supreme Council for Delivery and Legacy, and Qatar Football Association.
ExxonMobil is a platinum sponsor of the Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture.
Qatar’s extensive program of public art demonstrates its commitment to bringing art directly to the people and expanding everyone’s creative horizons. Highlights of the public artworks on view, which enrich the lives of all citizens, include: the neon installation A Blessing in Disguise by Ghada Al Khater at the Fire Station: Artists in Residence; Smoke, a sculpture by Tony Smith at the Doha Exhibition & Convention Centre; East-West/West-East, a monumental sculpture in the heart of the Qatar desert by Richard Serra; Gandhi’s Three Monkeys by Subodh Gupta at Katara Cultural Village; and Maman, a sculpture by Louise Bourgeois in the form of a giant steel spider at the Qatar National Convention Centre, Qatar Foundation. QM also collaborates with the Hamad International Airport (HIA), where major artworks created by local, regional, and international artists—including Adel Abdessemed, Ahmed Al Bahrani, Dia al-Azzawi, Mubarak Al Malik, Salman Al Malik, Amal Al Rabban, Tom Claassen, Urs Fischer, Ali Hassan, KAWS, Tom Otterness, and Bill Viola—can be seen. QM also supports a variety of initiatives that aim to engage with contemporary artists in Qatar, including the 5/6 initiative, an annual open call inviting artists to propose a permanent public artwork to commemorate the anniversary of the Blockade, the Student Competition inviting students and alumni to create a temporary public art work to be placed around the city; with this year’s theme encouraging the use of recycled materials and JEDARIART, an annual program activating the cities walls bringing together artists through murals with the goal of enriching daily life and encouraging the community to reflect on social, historical, and cultural issues. Further programs such as tours, talks and the protecting public art campaign take place throughout the year. Abdulrahman Al-Ishaq serves as Director of Qatar Museums’ Public Art program.
Qatar Museums (QM), the nation’s preeminent institution for art and culture, provides authentic and inspiring cultural experiences through a growing network of museums, heritage sites, festivals, public art installations, and programs. QM preserves and expands the nation’s cultural offerings, sharing art and culture from Qatar, the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia (MENASA) region with the world and enriching the lives of citizens, residents, and visitors.
Under the patronage of His Highness the Amir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and led by its Chairperson, Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, QM has made Qatar a vibrant center for the arts, culture, and education in the Middle East and beyond. QM is integral to the goal of developing an innovative, diverse, and progressive nation, bringing people together to ignite new thinking, spark critical cultural conversations, and amplify the voices of Qatar’s people. Since its founding in 2005, QM has overseen the development of the Museum of Islamic Art and MIA Park, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, the National Museum of Qatar, QM Gallery Al Riwaq, QM Gallery Katara, and the Tasweer Qatar Photo Festival. Future projects include the soon to open 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum and the Qatar Children’s Museum.
QM also initiates and supports projects—such as the Fire Station Artist in Residence and the creative hub for innovation, fashion and design M7—that nurture artistic talent and create opportunities to build a strong and sustainable cultural infrastructure.
Portland Street Art Alliance is a 501c3 non-profit organization based in Portland, Oregon USA. Founded in 2012, PSAA’s main goal is to actively transform the public art landscape by developing more inclusive place-based programs which aim to increase access to art for everyone. PSAA offers professional services to clients around the world, and provides resources, networking platforms, and professional development opportunities to support artists. PSAA has managed over 175 private and publicly-funded street art projects, collaborating with hundreds of artists and clients to create murals, activate events, and more. PSAA also supports the general community by providing educational programming, tours, and hosting community events.
Source and cover image credit: Qatar Museums Press Release
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