HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums (QM), on Monday inaugurated the Zwara: Focus on Forever Valentino Exhibition sponsored by Interspace, at M7, Qatar’s epicentre for innovation and entrepreneurship in design, fashion and technology.
The exhibition showcases the collections of the 13 designers enrolled in the third edition of the Zwara Programme.
Commenting on the opening of the exhibition, HE Sheikha Al Mayassa said: "We are delighted to celebrate the opening of yet another exceptional exhibition at M7, showcasing the creative talents of our local and Qatar-based designers. Building upon the legacy of the Forever Valentino exhibition, this unique showcase embodies the enduring influence of Maison Valentino and its values. M7 is committed to nurturing and empowering the next generation of designers by promoting collaboration, cross-cultural and disciplinary exchange, and storytelling through design. We are proud to provide a platform for emerging creatives to develop their skills and showcase their vision."
The Zwara Programme is a multifaceted programme that seeks to spark creativity and collaboration in aspiring creatives against the backdrop of Qatar’s creative landscape. Held yearly, the programme highlights the importance of storytelling and experimentation in design, inviting creatives to explore exhibitions, archives and collections and then respond to a design brief.
This year, 13 designers were selected across various design disciplines, and were paired into six groups to encourage collaboration and dialogue between fashion and other design disciplines.
The 13 designers on this year’s Zwara programme are:
Rabab Abdulla - multidisciplinary designer, fashion designer; Alaa Albarazy - urban designer, XR designer; Surabhi Gaikwad - artist; Sonali Raman - fashion designer; Maryam al-Suwaidi - product designer; Mohamed al-Suwaidi - architecture, fabrication, 3D design; Nia Alexander Campbell – artist; Maha al-Mahsana – fashion designer; Tamader al-Sultan – fashion designer; Amna al-Baker – multidisciplinary artist; Farjana Salahuddin – interactive and new media artist; Fatima al-Sharshani – calligrapher; and Dana al-Mulla – fashion designer.
In this edition, Qatar-based designers and creatives in the Zwara Programme were tasked with exploring the natural conversations that occur between fashion and other design disciplines and explore these in their own work. Drawing inspiration from the Forever Valentino exhibition recently held at M7 and using the legacy and values of Maison Valentino as a starting point, collaborative teams developed designs that combined their diverse practices while reflecting their own heritage and values. 
The selected participants were invited to attend a series of exclusive exhibition curated tours and workshops conducted by M7 and also had the opportunity to travel to participate in an optional three-day-long programme led by the Valentino team at their Atelier in Rome. The designers engaged with the Valentino team to understand the context of the Valentino brand, and  visited the Ateliers, Historical Archive, and were given a brief about Valentino’s journey.
This opportunity allowed the participants to garner inspiration from the internationally acclaimed fashion house, and explore the codes and heritage of the Maison in their designs.
“The Zwara Programme is tailor-made with the aim to connect the global to the local by making our blockbuster exhibitions accessible to aspiring local and Qatar-based designers. We’re also proud that our industry partners such as Valentino recognise the importance of transferring their knowledge and share their legacy with the next generation of designers,” Maha al-Sulaiti, M7 director, said.
M7 is committed to connecting Qatar’s diverse design community and providing opportunities to emerging creatives. The exhibition is sponsored by Qatari interior fit-out company Interspace, which worked collaboratively with Qatar-based exhibition designers.
“It is a pleasure to work alongside Qatar-based designers and support the growth of the creative industry in Qatar. Interspace is proud to sponsor the third edition of the Zwara Programme,” said John Allan, Interspace and Al Manjara manager.
Zwara: Focus on Forever Valentino is open until September 10 at the Creative Learning Space, Floor 1, M7. The exhibition is open from Saturday to Thursday, 9am to 7pm, and on Friday, 1.30pm to 7pm.
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