Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Qatar: A Rising Tide With Art

Elias being introduced to the Minister of Art and Culture here in Doha. Adel, Elias's friend and mentor wanted him to meet the minister who visited the exhibit. 
Qatar is not only aiming to become a sports hub in the world, but it is also eager to bring more art to the Gulf Region. That means supporting not only local artists, but those who are here from different countries. This week we attended an exhibit of about two dozen artists who are trying to make it in the art scene here in Doha--several from different countries. Large paintings, and a few sculptures were being sold. Elias, our son with autism, was invited to show his paintings too. In the last few years, creativity is weaving into this culture in Qatar. It is an exciting time to be an artist in Qatar.
Creativity is prized and sought after.

The exhibit was a rich experience in various cultures being represented---Tunisia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, India, Qatar, and Elias, the token artist from the U.S.

This is a children's story by one of my favorite children artists, Leo Leonni. He tells of some mice who are gathering food for the winter, but Frederick is writing poetry and making pictures. The theme: that in the winter the mice not only need some food, but they need some culture--like art, a riveting storytelling session, and poetry. This is the message of Qatar's message right now to everyone: You are invited to create. To build a sculpture, paint, sketch, and draw is important to celebrate life and humanity. And then to share it. Somehow forming color onto pages, paper, wall, canvas make us more alive--definitely more happy. There should be a little Frederick in all of us.

Artist Elias with four of his paintings. Another one is hanging on a wall .The winter scene was sought after by a Qatari policeman/art who misses snow, and spent some time with his mother at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN

An artist painting a mural to advertise for the show.

A Qatari artist who paints portraits with his hands
I go to see Miriam, a Qatari artist exhibit some of her paintings at the show. She has not been able to walk for seven years, but continues to create. If you talk to her, she never stops smiling. It makes me think how much joy and fulfillment art has brought to her. I met her at the Picasso exhibit. You know how it is. We artists run in the same circles.....

An artist from Saudi Arabia wood burning portraits. He is stunningly accurate with his wood burner.

The night we went to bring the paintings, Hamad, a Qatari policeman and artist spotted Elias's painting--begging to buy it.  He misses the snow when he brought his mother to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, USA.

Hamad, the policiman/artist and Elias. Hamad never stops smiling. He laughed when I told him he didn't look like a policeman.

An artist from Pakistan who has just been here in Doha a few months--trying out his hand in a new country to show his art.

Some traditional Qatari music in the background. Adel, Elias's friend, a fellow artist, who has done so much to help him.

Some Qatari brothers buying some ice cream in a stall out in the parking lot--part of the show.

Of course, there is always decadent candy at exhibits in Qatar. The candy even was highly decorated for the occasion.

Elias with one of his art classes at an exhibit at the Fire Station. It has been thrilling for him to have his art displayed now three times since we moved here two and a half years ago. I am so grateful to those teachers and mentors who have helped my son be more alive and happy because of art. I appreciate Qatar for supporting him and all other artists.