Qatari artists have become more focused and inspired a year after the blockade on the country, continuously honing their skills and pursuing their passion, Fire Station’s director Khalifa al-Obaidli has said.
“I don’t feel it (blockade) anymore, we are focusing on our job here and the blockade has become a motivation not only for artists but for people from different sectors,” he told Gulf Times in an interview.
Al-Obaidli said local artists even used art to mark the 100 days of the blockade which included creating graffitis around the Fire Station’s walls.
Citing a previous exhibition, he noted that three artists portrayed the blockade as subjects in their art works, which received positive feedback from a large number of people.

Qatari artist Fatma al-Naimi's 'The Result 2' is displayed at the Artist in Residence exhibition at the Fire Station. PICTURE: Joey Aguilar

The artists’ works also highlighted the people’s confidence in their government and His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, according to al-Obaidli.
“We take this blockade as a motivation but we don’t attack our neighbours, we are investing in ourselves and developing what we are good at rather than attacking others,” he stressed.
He reiterated that the unjust blockade also serves as a good reason for the Fire Station to further invest in its artists, especially now with Doha’s art scene becoming more vibrant day by day.
Al-Obaidli said that artists in Qatar now have access to countless opportunities both in Qatar and abroad, through QM’s international work.
Major events and exhibitions in Qatar have also attracted many renowned artists from other countries, he added.
“We are focusing on our projects and vision, on how to develop ourselves," al-Obaidli said. “The blockade is really a motivation for us to work harder.”
He noted that their biggest achievement is the gathering of local artists in the country, “working and collaborating in one community, in one city.”
The Fire Station’s various programmes and initiatives have also encouraged many artists to showcase their works publicly and to interact with their peers and collaborate on several projects,” al-Obaidli said, adding that they discovered a lot of promising artists.
“For example, Yasser al-Mulla, an amazing artist, he was creating incredible works privately but with our programmes, he is now one of Qatar’s most well-known artists,” he added. “Just this year he hosted three exhibitions in Doha.”

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