By Umer Nangiana
The exhibition, featuring representative photographs of 11 Latin American countries
and the Caribbean will be on display at Katara until March 15. By Umer Nangiana
In a first of its kind exhibition, eleven Latin American countries and the Caribbean have put together a dazzling showcase of all that is beautiful about the continent.
Bringing together documentary photographs that represent 11 Latin American countries in five categories, the capital of the country, the national animal, the national plant or flower, the national dish and the historical monument, the exhibition “Symbols of Latin America” officially opened at Katara Cultural Village, building 18, recently.
The ambassadors of almost all the represented countries along with the government officials from Qatar opened the exhibit, which will remain open to public until March 15.
“It is a very good opportunity for us to show our country, all its beauty and our culture. And with 11 Latin countries doing it together, I think it is a good opportunity for Qatari people to know us more,” Ambassador of Argentina to Qatar Rossana Cecilia Surballe told Community in a chat at the opening ceremony.
Argentina is contributing portraits to the exhibition; especially those featuring national parks, most of which are part of world heritage like the Talampaya National Park that is a Mesozoic park. In food, the typical Argentinian meat, Empanadas is on display in all its juicy flavours.
“In Patagonia, there is whale watching. Three months of the year, these whales come to Argentina to the South Patagonia to this special site called Porto Parana and thousands of people go there to especially see this show of whales,” said the Argentinian ambassador, referring to a picture showing the site of whale watching.
The exhibition also features another national park from the province of Rio Negro, with its many lakes of different colours. And there is also the famous floral sculpture from the capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires. “We did not bring our national flower which is Ceibo, but this sculpture is very famous in Buenos Aires and represents different flowers,” said the ambassador.
She said the Argentinian community in Doha is not very big but it is very active. There are about 200 people here. Most of them are professionals.
“We have many pilots and staffers [working for] Qatar Airways. We have engineers and architects involved in multiple projects in Qatar; and many chefs, which is why you get the opportunity here to taste our flavours and our meat,” added ambassador Rossana.
There are many Argentinian restaurants in town. For the last three to four years, the number of tourists visiting Argentina from Qatar has been increasing, she said. “Our understating is that more and more people are getting interested in going to Argentina and also many people from there are coming here. Qatar is also very famous in Argentina,” said the ambassador.
Ambassador of Peru to Qatar Julio Florian said the exhibition was like a cornerstone, because it is the first time that Latin America and the Caribbean are doing something collectively and the object is to strengthen the relations with Qatar by showing their most basic symbols.
“By symbols I mean the capitals of the countries, their wildlife and gastronomy because people may know that countries like Argentina and Peru are in South America but they would not know basic things such as their animals, plants and the overall picture of their capitals,” said Julio.
The objective of this exhibition, he added, was to keep on building bridges between a group of countries and Qatar, which geographically speaking are very far away but in many-a-sense are close.
“If you look at the food in our countries, many of them descend from this part of the world. For me, it has been fantastic. I am very happy. The attendance has been fantastic,” Julio told Community.
Showing the same symbols as the others, Peru has put on display the national fruit, the national plants and animal, the capital of the city and the historical monument Machu Picchu. Peru has held a separate solo exhibition for the pictures of famous Peruvian horses, the Paso, back in 2012 in Katara.
Julio said the tourism from Qatar to Peru is also increasing year by year. “It might not be in high numbers but it is now in the hundreds, going by [the number of people asking for visas at the] embassy. I am very happy about it. It is a slow process we are aware of that, but little by little it is like climbing the mountain,” said the Peruvian ambassador.
Ambassador of Mexico to Qatar Francisco Niembro also appreciated the concept of the exhibition.
“It is a great concept. The attendance here was great and we are very happy because this is the first time that all the 12 countries have organised this exhibition together, which is really colourful, full of culture and a good way of showing what we are and where we come from,” said the ambassador, talking to Community.
In the pictures on display, the Mexican embassy is promoting Mexico City with all its perspectives showcasing its greener areas with the Chapultepec Park in one of the many states of the country. “It is full of jungle, full of green waters and cascades, and of course the gastronomy and the cultural heritage that we have from the Mayans, shown here in the pyramids. We have tried to give a snapshot of what we have in Mexico,” said ambassador Niembro.
“Chiapas is probably my personal favourite state in Mexico. There, you really feel in contact with the nature and all the symbolism that the Mayans used to have and they still have it in this part of Mexico,” said the ambassador pointing to a picture from the valley.
The picture was taken during the spring season, he added, when you can actually see the true colours of nature there. The place in the picture is in the South and probably not that well-known as people mostly head to beaches. But it is in the middle of the jungle and the ambassador said it was “beautiful and a must-visit place.” It also has what they call, the ambassador added, the magic towns.
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