Influential art speakers to attend Doha forum
March 02 2014 10:54 PM

Mayssa Fattouh, Antonia Carver and Aisha Ghanem al-Attiya speak to the media at the Global Art Forum 2014 press conference at Katara Arts Centre yesterday. PICTURE: Shemeer Rasheed

By Joey Aguilar/Staff Reporter

Some 40 well-known international and local art speakers will be coming to Doha for the Global Art Forum 2014 to lead various discussions and share their knowledge among members of the art community in Qatar.
The event dubbed as “Meanwhile… History,” is a part of the ongoing “Qatar – Brazil Year of Culture” celebration, and will be held on March 15 and 16 at the Katara Art Centre.
Speaking at a press conference at Katara yesterday, Art Dubai director Antonia Carver noted that panelists will include academics, writers, curators and artists who will lead the discussions of various topics in the forum.
“We have invited Solange Farkas to be one of our speakers. She runs the biggest film and arts festival in Brazil and we will be connecting her with other players from the Arab world,” said Carver. “It’s one time in a year when all these great speakers come”.
Art Dubai, a leading international art fair in the Middle East and South Asia, has partnered with the Office of Strategic Cultural Relations at Qatar Museums Authority for the staging of the forum in the country.
The speakers also included renowned architect Hisham Qaddumi who worked with the Qatar government to develop the first masterplan in the late 70s and early 80s for what is now known as modern day Doha.
He was instrumental in building the Sheraton Doha. He is also the founder of The Arab Architects and HQA Consulting, Doha.
International curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, Qatari artist-writer Sophia al-Maria and some artists will join Qaddumi in the discussion on architecture for the opening session in the evening of March 15.
Carver noted that the second day of the forum will delve into the pearl industry in the Gulf in the 1930s. It was when the manufactured pearl was introduced in Japan and the pearling industry in the Gulf had collapsed. Pearl and Jewellery Museum in Doha director Hubert Bari and Rolf Killius, an expert in music and songs of Gulf pearl-divers and fishermen, will lead the discussion for this topic.
One of the debates will focus on the relationship between Brazil and the Arab world, as well as the cultural impact on those who made the ‘Atlantic leap’.
She urged students to attend the debates saying “it is a golden opportunity” for anyone who is interested in history, in architecture, and in the development of Doha”.
The forum is expected to be interactive, lively and open to all. From Qatar, it will then move to Dubai from March 19 to 21.
The debates and discussions will be live-streamed and simultaneously translated into Arabic and English.
“Let’s never have a conference where people fall asleep,” quipped Carver.
“The forum also reflects on the philosophy and fiction of making history matter: each interview, discussion, presentation or commissioned project at Global Art Forum 8 is a point on this imagined timeline,” she said. “As a whole, it becomes a journey through known and unknown histories, of critical change and seismic moments”.
“Meanwhile…History” has been arranged and prepared by writer Shumon Basar, curator-translator Omar Berrada, and artist-curator Ala Younis.
Aisha Ghanem al-Attiya, cultural diplomacy projects manager at QMA, said cultural co-operation, exchange programmes and independent artist programme with different countries have established sustainable relationship with the rest of the Arab world. She citing the success of the Qatar – Japan 2012, Qatar – UK 2013 celebrations, the Damien Hirst relics exhibition and another exhibition in London which attracted about 100,000 attendees.
The Qatar – Brazil 2014 is a year-long cultural exchange programme which aims to strengthen bilateral ties and create long term partnerships between institutions and individuals.

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