By Joey Aguilar

Staff Reporter

An art competition was launched yesterday at the Museum of Islamic Art Park in a bid to gather talented young artists who will be sent to visit Brazil in September for the finals.

Entitled “Create and Inspire”, this year’s competition is expected to attract hundreds of participants from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the UK.

“We will choose five winners to go to Brazil in September. This is the launch of the competition and we have invited Alexandre Orian, a Brazilian artist to work with us,” said Valeria Mariani, project manager at Crossway Foundation, a UK-based charitable institution which had partnered with Art Jameel and Qatar Museums Authority.

Crossway, Mariani noted, is working to promote better understanding between the United Kingdom and the Middle East through art. These include organising workshops, screenings, talks, international competitions and similar activities.

Last year, the competition attracted about 500 participants from the three countries. This year, Mariani is hoping to attract more. At least 12 winners will be selected among the finalists.

The theme of this year’s competition - “The World is not Black and White” - is inspired by the Qatar Brazil 2014 Year of Culture, a unique cultural exchange programme between the two countries.

During the launch, Orian led a graffiti workshop at the main cafe in MIA Park. Scores of residents coming from various expatriate communities participated.

On graffiti workshop, Mariani said: “For people to get involved and express themselves, it was a really nice way to do that since it is an easy way to express yourself without words”.

“We thought it was a nice way to break the barrier of language through a very simple medium,” Mariani stressed.

Orian led the workshop and taught participants how to apply spray paint on a wall set up at venue.

Participants were allowed to spray paint and experiment on the wall using different colours.

The Brazilian artist, who came from a graffiti background in 1992 in Sau Paulo, told reporters that he conducted similar workshops in other countries using stencil.

Brazilian artists, as Mariani describes them, are very open, very eager to meet other people and gain inspiration from them.

About the theme, Salma Tuqan, Contemporary Middle East curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum, said in a press statement: “A black and white world is one with limited variety. Colour represents diversity, multiple opinions and openness.”

Tuqan, also a trustee at Crossway Foundation, observed that “experiencing different parts of the world first hand helps us to better understand ourselves and others.”

To mark the online launch of the competition, Crossway Foundation has collaborated with Saudi Arabia’s leading online video network, Cinema of Arabia, to release an exclusive short film.

Fady Jameel, president of Art Jameel, said the art competition aims to identify talents from the Gulf and equip them with the needed skills and experiences which they can apply to their own communities.




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