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Qatar Museums public art initiative | Scale Online magazine

Jedariart: Art for the Public

Eighteen Qatar-based artists rendered artworks on urban spaces for Jedariart that sparked interest and constructive debate as part of Qatar Museums public art initiative.  

Last year during the lockdown, SCALE had organised a Webinar on Public Art where experts from India and Qatar shared best practices. One particular initiative in India, ST+Art which brought art to the common man, using the façade of public buildings as the canvas roused the interest of many.  Qatar has followed this initiative to make art more mainstream by engaging with the common man. Qatar-based artists made their marks on designated walls across Doha as part of Jedariart, a Qatar Museums’ public art initiative to activate shared urban areas and add meaning to the city’s walls through curated murals and street art.Qatar Museums public art initiative | Scale Online magazineQatar Museums public art initiative | Scale Online magazineThe public art initiative, held in partnership with The Supervisory Committee of Beautification of Roads and Public Places, Q-Rail, and Woqod and Fire Station: Artist in Residence invited eighteen Qatar-based artists to breathe new life into walls in various locations across the city with murals that shine a light on a variety of topics and spark constructive debate.Qatar Museums public art initiative | Scale Online magazineQatar Museums public art initiative | Scale Online magazineArchitect Abdulrahman Al-Ishaq, Director of Public Art at Qatar Museums, said: “Qatar Museums is proud to have partnered with an immensely talented group of artists, who each brought their unique artistic style to life through murals that enrich the public realm and encourage cultural dialogue. This month-long initiative has enabled us to further expand our public art reach, making art accessible to the wider community and bringing to life more urban spaces across the city.”Qatar Museums public art initiative | Scale Online magazineQatar Museums public art initiative | Scale Online magazineHe explained how public art plays a key role in encouraging dialogues and understanding amongst the citizens. Abdulrahman says, “Public art takes art beyond four walls, making it more accessible to a larger audience and it encourages a newfound appreciation for art and creativity, demonstrating that art is not only to be found inside the confines of a museum gallery.”Qatar Museums public art initiative | Scale Online magazineQatar Museums public art initiative | Scale Online magazineQatar Museums has several public art initiatives that take place throughout the year, including Jedariart, the Open Call Program which includes our 6/5 Initiative, Public Art Student Competition, says Abdulrahman, expanding on the key role that Qatar Museums has in shaping the sensibilities of the population.

“These initiatives invite the wider community to add vibrancy to walls across the city through artworks that reflect Qatar’s rich heritage while documenting its present and imaging the country’s future,” he says.Qatar Museums public art initiative | Scale Online magazineQatar Museums public art initiative | Scale Online magazineStriking new murals that give the passers-by an insight into the culture of the country, have been added to walls at Fire Station, Al-Abraj Park, Doha Festival City Interchange, Alkhor Interchange, Doha Expressway, Post Office Park, 5/6 Park, 5/6 Flyover, Qatar National Library Metro Station, Abdulla Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah District and the Woqod Petrol Station in Fereej Kulaib.Qatar Museums public art initiative | Scale Online magazineQatar Museums public art initiative | Scale Online magazineParticipating artists were selected following an Open Call, in which aspiring and established artists in Doha were requested to submit a proposal detailing a concept for a mural that takes into consideration the piece’s relevance to the community and the message the artwork aims to conveyParticipating artists included Mubarak Al Malik, Huda Basahal, Noura Al Mansoori, Dimitrije Bugarski, Nada Khozestani, Sharefa Al Mannai, Thamer Al Dossari, Muna Al Bader, Fatima Al Sharshani, Michael Perrone and his team, Maryam Al Maadhadi, Shuaa Al Kuwari, Abdulaziz Yousef, Abdulla Al Emadi, Alanoud Al Ghamdi, Haifa Al Khuzaei, Maha Al Jaidah, and Aisha Al Fadhala.

SCALE talks to a few of the participating artists.

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Flow Through Time

Muna Al Bader & Sharefa Al Mannai

Qatar Museums public art initiative | Scale Online magazineMuna Al Bader remembers the time when it was forbidden to draw on the walls in Qatar and she is honoured to be part of Jedariart as the graffiti art works have becomes a landmark all over the world. “It my honour to have my art pieces on public places such as the highway.” she says.

Muna’s artwork called Flow through the Time was in collaboration with Sharefa Al Mannai.

“The message behind it is to take us back to a time where kids would create their own games and craft their entertainment tools out of simple sources such as paper. Kids would create paper airplanes and would enjoy this simple game. I have contributed to this great idea by creating a colourful pattern with “childish-simple” artwork, to convey many emotions such as joy and innocence. Those times of our childhood are reflected in the bright colours chosen for this artwork. We wanted to spread joy through the simplicity of our artwork,” says Sharefa.Qatar Museums public art initiative | Scale Online magazineSharefa and Muna both agree that art has added value during the lockdown times. Sharefa says that people have used art as a form to express themselves. “I myself have taken advantage of this and used my artistic skills to share my feelings. Ever since, I have had many opportunities to participate in many exhibitions, and the recent one was Ajyal Film Festival 2020 titled “Outbreak” curated by Khalifa AL-Thani. To me art is a powerful tool because in all its form visual, auditory etc, it can trigger emotions in the audience and to me that is mesmerising and beautiful. “

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Muna agrees, “The current situation has connected the boundaries between us artists. I had initiated many programmes during the pandemic and the most important one was the virtual exhibition where a message was conveyed to all artists,  “art stay safe.””

Arabic Calligraphy

Fatima Al SharshaniQatar Museums public art initiative | Scale Online magazineQatar Museums public art initiative | Scale Online magazineFatima wanted to emphasise the beauty of the Arabic calligraphy alongside the beauty of shapes and lines. “Some say that calligraphy is the engineering of the soul excited by your hands,” says Fatima, “Calligraphy to many, is just a subject, mastering different fonts but it is more than that, it is a form of art that utilises the beauty of language.”

“This pandemic, though terrible, has allowed people to discover their hidden talents. Can you imagine how many artists had been forever locked up because they were busy living in the corporate world and now the pandemic has brought out the artist in everyone,” she says.

“Art speaks to us in different ways, art is everywhere and the lockdown opened our eyes to the beautiful things we see,” she says.

The Qatari Protocol

Abdulaziz YousefQatar Museums public art initiative | Scale Online magazineQatar Museums public art initiative | Scale Online magazineAbdulaziz’s artwork is a highlight on the traditions the Qatari men and women follow in their body language on the ceremonial occasion, or casually leaving their home since the piece is called (Behind the Door). The mediation value is in the simplicity of the delivery of the art works, and how simplicity is a huge value of the Qatari culture. It is also a beautiful way of the Qatari nation coping with life and a celebration of our national identity.

Qatar Museums public art initiative | Scale Online magazineQatar Museums public art initiative | Scale Online magazineArt has always taken an important part in the country feels Abdulaziz. He says, “It has been strong for a long time, and there are many examples. This project is no more than the other projects the QM has been providing to enhance the art scene in Doha. But I love the involvement of young Qatari artists in the art movement this time.”

Abdulaziz is excited about the work from all of them with no exception, as he believes that each artist has a different beautiful perspective to add to the Qatari skyline.