On Thursday 2nd June the doors of the Fire Station in the heart of Doha opened to showcase the first of its kind ‘Artist in Residence’ exhibition. The space of the old Fire Station is magnificent and suits a gallery so well! Individual garages and spaces have been repurposed as art studios and ateliers. This unique Garage gallery made the perfect place for the ‘Artist in Residence’ exhibition, opened proudly by Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani leading Qatar Museums (QM).
Artists from the Artist in Residence programme were able to submit their works for the celebration of the programme and its accomplishments. A number of 18 artists presented their works at the opening on Thursday, ten of whom were Qatari. The best works of each artist were selected from their nine months of residency at the fire station. And each voice through the works is different with spectacular and exceptional art pieces. Different mediums were used such as art, photography, design and architecture. Particularly interesting is how each medium was used in a variety of processes, thoughts and intentions and finished outcomes. This exhibition therefore serves as a platform to communicate the artists’ skills with the media, their friends and community, art fanatics, culture and collectors.
One art work in the exhibition is that of Qatari artists Aisha Al-Sowaidi, Hana Saleh Al-Saadi and Roda Ibrahim Al Nasr. The piece carries the title ‘Remembrance of a Majlis’, emphasizing memory and remembrance. Representing a Majlis setting, the piece discusses the shifted and altered memories in the present and future. Other topics of discourse included changing attitudes towards cultural history and tangible global identities.
The Artist in Residence programme started in September 2015, where artists could collaborate with others to create and develop their own style and technique. They received mentoring sessions by internationally acclaimed artists including Cai Guo-Qiang and Luc Tuymans. The director of the Fire Station Khalifa Al Obaidly was delighted at the exhibition opening and stated: “I am immensely proud to witness the incredible achievements of every single talented artist, presented beautifully in this end of residency exhibition.”
“Each and every artist has really pushed the boundaries of innovation and creativity to raise the bar in contemporary art in the region and this exhibition highlights just how much our art community is flourishing. To see Qatar and its interest in artists grow is a great thing for the next generation of artistic talent in our country.”, so Al Obaidly.
The principal sponsor for the programme was Oil and gas exploration and production company Occidental Petroleum of Qatar Ltd. (Oxy Qatar). Stephen Kelly, President and General Manager of Oxy Qatar voiced his enthusiasm for the long-established partnership with Qatar Museums. He commented, “ The Artist in Residence programme completes an interconnected and interdependent ecosystem that we are confident will enhance public awareness and appreciation of local art and cultural heritage”.
The Fire Station will maintain open doors to anyone wanting to see the exhibit until mid November 2016 and welcomes the next batch of talented creative in September 2016. So far 150 artists have applied to become the next 18 artists for the programme. We are eager to find out what the next year of artists in residence will bring!
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