A perspective on canvas
October 25 2015 01:51 AM

ON SHOW: The exhibition, at the Art Centre, Hamad bin Khalifa University (HBKU), features works of students, staff and alumni from universities in Education City. It runs till November 19. Photo by Umer Nangiana

A wide range of artists, professional and amateur, from across Education City have
contributed to this exhibition that highlights the artworks and the ideas behind them

By Umer Nangiana

Featuring students, alumni and the staff of universities located in Education City, the inaugural ‘Education City Art Centre Exhibition’ shines the spotlight on a diverse selection of artists. The featured artists, both professional and amateur, come from across the Education City and other Qatar Foundation (QF) entities, demonstrating some exceptional work of art in different genres from paintings to sculptures, photographs, mixed media and prints on fabric.
“This is the first time we are bringing out such a wide range of talented artists from across the Education City community,” says the curator’s statement about the exhibition which is on display at the Art Centre, Hamad bin Khalifa University (HBKU) from October 18 to November 19 this year.
Through their work, each talented individual brings to the exhibition a deep and enduring passion for art and a unique perspective on the world. Together, they offer a glimpse of the breadth of artistic talent that in the recent years has enriched the artistic landscape of both Education City and Qatar.
One of the pieces on display is a work entitled ‘Iqra’ by a Virginia Commonwealth University-Qatar (VCU-Q) student, Sultana Jasmine. The artwork instills an aura of world unity through fashion design.
The piece, and the collection, borrows the clothing differences of various nations, and returns it as unified hybrids of a multicultural garment as well as personal mementos, a celebration of cultures “to remind us that these differences have the potential to be utilised to strengthen our bonds and not resort to disunity but to unity.”    
“Every piece tells a story and perhaps you could tune in, or find yourself as the role-player of one of them; notice, peek in, reflect, to understand which role you play best. Perhaps you may find your favourite story,” says the artist in the description of the piece on display.
‘Iqra’ in literal sense means, ‘to read.’ ‘Iqra,’ the artist says, is a command, a request, an inspiration, an envelope of light that replaces ignorance with enlightenment in purpose, with reason and logic, affirms and acknowledges faith.
Iqra, the piece, is a reminder to reflect if we as humanity are following the command of Iqra individually yet instilling it at a communal, national and international level. The aim of Iqra, she adds, is to instil in its audience the motivation to research and learn, empathise, and transform negativity to harmony, destructive unrest to positive excitement, disunity to unity.
“Iqra is a path that strikes the light within us; sprouts and transforms us into unbelievably tolerant individuals which in turn unites families, communities, nations, and eventually the world,” says the creator of the piece and the collection.
Another piece of work is a set of paintings under the series, ‘Between Cultures’ by Annette Wendling-Willeke, an artist and architect, and staff at VCU-Q.
The series of paintings, that is ongoing, is an extension of what she started two years ago. For the idea, Annette took inspiration from her stays in four different culturally diverse countries such as Sri Lanka, Australia, Germany and now, Qatar, she told Community in an earlier interview.
The paintings feature different masks in different settings. “All of them (countries) have one thing in common. They all use masks in some way that may be a very ritualistic way or may be just a make-up,” suggested the artist in her interview.
In Germany, where she belongs to, they have a long tradition of carnivals; in Sri Lanka, where she spent a lot of time of her life before coming to Doha, they have a lot of colourful masks and similarly in Australia, another of her stays, they use various kinds of ritualistic masks in whatever gatherings of aboriginal Australians.
“In some way, this seems to be something that we need as human beings, sometimes just to play and sometimes to fulfil the role that we take in human society,” said the artist, explaining the thinking behind the pieces in the series, ‘Between Cultures’.  
The paintings on display at the EC Art Exhibition, like others in the series, demonstrate fanciful stories of funny creatures that could mean anything. The other participating artists in the exhibition include Rana Jubara, Mark Newmark, Hanof Ahmed, Nawal al-Kuwari, Hania Batarni, Hassan Tarawneh, Bachir Mohammed, Nehan Yaqoob, Saida Hassan, Xueru Ding, Dina Hammada, Hadeer Omar, Sara al-Emadi, Nancy Allaham and Shadi Ghonim.

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