Reconnecting Arts invited more than 40 emerging Middle Eastern (11 Qatari) artists to showcase their experiences of ‘transition’.
The exhibition named ‘TRANSITION’, curated by Reconnecting Arts’ Qatari co-founders Khalid al-Hammadi and Sara Foryame, showcased the works of 42 emerging Middle Eastern artist, among them 11 Qatari artists, over 3 weeks at the Menier Gallery in London.
Reconnecting Arts is an artist-led platform for the ideas and work of emerging contemporary Middle Eastern artists founded in 2016 by UK-Based Qatari artists Khalid Al Hamadi and Sara Foryame.
All 30 contemporary artists joined the exhibition from countries all over the Arab world, including Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Among them were 11 artists from Qatar, each of whom participated with an impressive selection of artwork reflecting ways transition has taken place in their individual lives.
Meet The Artists
The Qatari artists featured in this exhibition, held from August 15 until September 2, were Abdulaziz Yousef (in collaboration with Latifa Al Darwish), Ahmed Al Jufairi, Amna Al Baker, Farah Altaweel, Fatima Mohammed, Hessa Al Ali, Maryam Yousuf Al Homaid, Nada Abdulkareem Baker, Nasser Al Attiyah and Sara Khalid Al Buainain.
Graphic Design grad and Art & Design Education student Farah Altaweel, displayed her series of black and white photographs inspired by president Trump’s ‘Muslim Ban’ titled ‘Alternative Facts’.
The photographs document a protest Altaweel participated in earlier this year, held against US president Donald Trump’s controversial ‘Muslim Ban’ policy. Cropped images appeared next to the original photographs to show how images can be manipulated.
“I decided to document this demonstration. Coming from Qatar I had never seen this type of action before. I focused on the protesters and the signs they were holding. I deliberately shot the images in a way that made the messages they were conveying appear to say the exact opposite. So, for example, a poster saying ‘No Muslim Ban’ would appear to say ‘No Muslim’,” she told Gulf Times.
Artist Fatima Mohamed expressed her take on the westernisation of the Arab Gulf through paintings of people wearing the Batula, a traditional face cover worn by many Arab women, with a beak from an American bald eagle attached.
“It is a comment on the westernisation you see in the Gulf States,” she said.
In collaboration with cartoonist Abdulaziz Yousef, Latifa al-Darwish screened her animated short film titled Yaoum Al Om (Mother’s Day).
“It is a short experimental animation film. The work is a dedication to our mothers. We see the mother with her son through various stages of their lives. At the end it appears the boy has grown up and gone away, but has returned and the image shows him kissing his mother’s head. He has come home,” she explained.
While comics are yet to become as popular in the Gulf as they are in the West, Nada Abdulkareem Baker pioneered with her ‘Laila’. Laila is an Arab girl rediscovering her Arab and Persian background through exploring Islamic and Arab folktales.
“I feel motivated to create games and comics to explore my stories. I want people to discover my culture and traditions through modern media,” she said, adding that “it has been really nice meeting the other artists and sharing our thoughts and ideas.”
The exhibition was attended by Qatar’s ambassador the the UK, Yousef bin Ali al-Khater, and was supported by Qatar Museums.