Doha-based British artist Ben Barbour will embark on a 20-day voyage tracing Qatar’s historic pearl trade routes aboard Al Karaana, a Nakilat Q-Flex Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) vessel.
A significant part of the Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture, the journey will start this weekend following routes taken by Qatari pearl traders in the past culminating in South Hook, Wales — Europe’s largest re-gasification terminal.
During the journey, Barbour will capture observations and objects from both past and present in his art.
He will be travelling along with a 25-member crew who will be one of the subjects of his drawings.
Barbour will also collect and re-tell their personal stories as well as organise workshops for them.
A celebrated talent, Barbour has been documenting Qatar’s remarkable journey. His highly acclaimed work New City documented Msheireb, the earliest suburb of Doha, through sketches as the area underwent extensive regeneration.
Barbour’s voyage on board the Q-Flex will draw parallels between Qatar’s industry of natural resources and its former pearl fishing industry.
“It’s been a lifelong dream to take part in a journey of this kind. I feel very honoured to be able to contribute to the Year of Culture, documenting not only the past, but also some of the shared similarities between Qatar and the UK,” said Barbour at a press conference at Qatargas head office.
Barbour said he would be creating around 50 to 100 artworks which will be published in a book along with the stories of the crew and their experiences working in the vessel.
The drawings will be showcased in an exhibition in Katara in October and another expo in Wales in December. The artworks will be reproduced in limited edition prints which will be for sale.
“We will also be working with a Welsh ceramicist to produce ceramic plates inspired by the drawings,” he said.
Martin Hope, Director, British Council Qatar, said: “Through Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture we are bringing the two nations closer together through cultural exchange.
“Ben, who is a talented artist, will contribute to this by charting and painting the key features of this traditional trade route during his time on the vessel.”
Aisha Ghanem Al Attiya, Qatar UK 2013 Project Manager, said: “We are delighted to be part of this exceptional art project.
“For six months, the Year of Culture has provided people in Qatar and Qataris living and studying abroad unique opportunities to engage with their own history and that of the UK.
“As the Year of Culture is working towards strengthening relations between Qatar and the UK, this journey is very symbolic for us.”
Abdurrahman Mohamed Al Mulla, Shipping Manager, Qatargas, said: “Qatargas is delighted to support Ben Barbour in this 20-day voyage from Qatar to the UK on the Qatargas-chartered vessel that carries liquefied natural gas from our plants in Ras Laffan to the South Hook Terminal.
“Qatargas’ support to this venture reflects the importance we attach to arts and culture as key focus areas of our corporate social responsibility programme.”
Barbour will regularly post updates on the journey online which can be followed on the Qatar UK 2013 page facebook.com/QatarUK2013.
Source : Qatar Chronicle
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