Twelve winners from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the UK have been selected for their original and imaginative responses to this year’s Create & Inspire competition theme, “The World is not Black & White”.

The three winners from Qatar are Maryam al-Essa, Emelina Soares and Ayaz Rauf.

In recognition of their artistic talents and creative potential, the 12 competition winners will travel to Brazil this month to experience one of the most colourful cultures in the world on the creative adventure of a lifetime, according to a statement.

In Brazil, the winning team will explore the country’s landscape and creative scene by collaborating with local arts and social organisations in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Brumadinho and Salvador to develop the key skills of leadership, communication and creativity.

A total of 35 promising young artists from the Gulf and the UK were shortlisted from hundreds of entries and interviewed by panels of industry experts. Judging interviews took place in Doha, Jeddah, Riyadh, Dubai and London.

Create & Inspire is a popular art competition that identifies talented young artists in the UK and the Gulf. The initiative is run by British charity, the Crossway Foundation, in partnership with Art Jameel and Qatar Museums, and supported by Saudi Aramco, the British Council and Etihad Airways.

Al-Essa is a 23-year-old Qatari who works as a graphic designer at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art. Her medium of choice is film. “When I read the title, ‘The World is not Black & White’, the first thing that came to mind was our culture and how most Westerners think that we are very plain. So, I wanted to prove this stereotype wrong through a series of photographs, which I then turned into a video,” she said. Her video could be viewed at

Soares is a 20-year-old Indian expatriate who is pursuing an undergraduate degree in Painting and Printmaking at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar. The chosen medium is visual arts. “My response to the topic, ‘The World is not Black & White’, depicts the difficulty in understanding one’s identity due to the diversity of cultures that communities share as the world is so closely connected. As a developing artist, I hope to continue exploring this theme within my pieces of work,” Soares explained.

Rauf, a 21-year-old Pakistani expatriate, is a student at Virginia Commonwealth University and his chosen medium is photography. “Being a visually charged individual, I am constantly feasting upon my surroundings. I only create art or take photographs when my curiosity is thoroughly piqued. Different surroundings help piece these puzzles together,” Rauf said.

The trio said travelling to Brazil would provide them with varied opportunities.

Speaking on Create & Inspire 2014, Safiya Saif al-Hajari, director of the Office of Strategic Cultural Relations at Qatar Museums, said: “This initiative supports emerging talent by taking the cultural experience beyond the four walls of a museum. We are pleased to be working in partnership with the Crossway Foundation to act as a cultural instigator for the creation generation.”

Fady Jameel, president of Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives International, said: “We’re proud to see so many talented young artists emerge from this competition.”





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