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Posted On: 13 August 2017 12:00 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 01:58 pm

Is Instagram becoming Qatar’s virtual art gallery?

ILQ Staff
ILQ Staff
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By Nushrat Anjum

The art we create is a reflection of who we are, and with the help of technology we’re able to promote our work and connect with relevant people. In the last few years, Instagram has become a platform for millennials to present their art to the world, and this is exactly what a young group of artists in Qatar have done -- used their phones as a medium of contemporary art to start ‘Phone Art Qatar’ (PAQ) on Instagram. ILQ sat down with the founding members of PAQ, Ammar Al Qamash, Latifa Al Darwish and Marsya Abdulghany to get an insight into this creative collective.

Image Source: Instagram

ILQ: Tell us what PAQ is about?

AAQ: PAQ is an art initiative that formed in February 2017, and aims to introduce mobile phones as a contemporary art medium. The initiative celebrates the power of creation and highlights the potential of artists who use mobile phones to produce valuable visual artworks.

ILQ: What was your vision for a group like this?

AAQ: Our vision is to have the smartphone as a mainstream form of art medium in Qatar and the Middle East within the next three years.

ILQ: How much have you accomplished towards this goal since you began?

AAQ: Our community members are the soul of our ‘photo-walks’. This is where a group of us gather and go out to take photos that document the ongoing change Qatar is facing every day. They also aim to teach and encourage our members to try different kinds of photography that inspires them to learn more and achieve more.

We’re proud of their growing numbers and their talents --we have a diverse range of more than 300 members on our PAQ Meet-Up app, which can be downloaded for Apple and Android. We’re also proud of our creative collaborations with foundations and companies such as Msheireb Museums, Qatar Foundation, and the Sheraton Grand Doha Hotel.

Image Source: Instagram

ILQ: What do you want to gain from this initiative?

AAQ: PAQ has two main aims:

1. To introduce phone photography as a new art medium.

This is achieved by:

  • Making an ongoing initiative to promote phone photography between creatives in Qatar on social media and through meet-up events.

  • Making an annual phone art exhibition where artists produce work made by, with, or about mobile phones.

  • Aiming to print an annual publication to document ‘phone-o-graphs’ in Qatar as part of our society’s emerging culture.

  • To hold photo-walks that follow curated themes.

2. To give an opportunity to phone photographers to use their talent commercially.

Image Source: Instagram

ILQ: Tell us about PAQ’s Ramadan Take-Over on Instagram and the goal behind it.

AAQ: We wanted our followers in general to have a platform through which they can share their knowledge, and we can learn more about them.

The Holy Month changes our usual lifestyle, so we wanted our followers to get a sense of how different people from different backgrounds and various countries spend their day.

We were astonished by their creative approaches in their stories and how, it provided us with a new perspective of how we could make the best of our Ramadan days.

Image Source: Instagram

ILQ: What’s your role in promoting young artists in Qatar?

AAQ: Promoting phone-art photographers is an ongoing process we’re working on.

Networking through photo-walks alway opens new doors for us and for our members.

In addition, we’re working on taking it to the next level.

We highly believe in our members’ potential and, therefore, we’re working on an exhibition that would celebrate their work and make it accessible to the wider community through a layer other than social media.

ILQ: How can people get involved with PAQ?

AAQ: Check out @phoneartQatar on Instagram, and download our Meet-Up app to sign up and join us -- we’re happy to have you onboard!

Can’t get enough Insta-stories? Here are a few other awesome Qatar-based Instagrammers you should be following!

1. @eslimah:

Image Source: Instagram

This account is handled by a young Estonian living in Qatar. Her Insta-feed is light-hearted -- and her followers love her for that! She keeps her account updated with pictures of her modest fashion and images of places she travels to. So, if you’re looking for some style inspo -- you know whose account to look up to.

2. @roufaida_faces:

Image Source: Instagram

This is a lifestyle and fitness account that everyone needs follow! It has modest outfit ideas and fitness tips. Handled by a Qatar-based fitness trainer, she posts videos of workouts along with pictures of her outfits and makeup.

3. @SheikhaMozahFashion:

Image Source: Instagram

Obsessed with Sheikha Mozah’s impeccable style? Aren’t we all! This is a fan account that documents Her Highness’s haute couture outfits and jewellery that she dons during her public appearances and state visit.

4. @its_noory:

Image Source: Instagram

If you’re one of us who loves looking at aesthetically-pleasing pictures, then you’ll fall in love with this Instagram account. It’s a travel, art, culture, and lifestyle account handled by a young Qatari photographer. Every picture has its own beautiful caption and a feel-good vibe to it.

5. @DineOutDoha:

Image Source: Instagram

Always looking for new places to eat? Then this brand-new page should be your go-to account. Comprised of top promotions and pictures of food from different restaurants, if you want to submit your own food photo if you’ve tried something new, give them a shout on Instagram and share your experience!

6. @VisitQatar:

Image Source: Instagram

Just as the name says, this account, operated by the Qatar Tourism Authority, gives you a glimpse of beautiful places you should visit around Qatar. The best part? It’s community-curated, and anyone can share their pictures and experiences exploring our nation!

7. @qatarfood_:

Image Source: Instagram

If you are scared of trying out new food, then this should be your guide. This account consists of food reviews and the location of the restaurants which are submitted by the members of the community.

What other awesome local Instagram accounts do you follow? Be sure to drop us a line in the comments below and let us know! Also, don’t forget to give us a like and a share -- it keeps us going!