Though there is a great degree of uncertainty in the world because of the coronavirus outbreak, people continue to show resilience and perseverance while trying to move on with their lives.
Qatar has already established itself as a hub of artistic and cultural activities. While the novel coronavirus pandemic has put a halt on large gatherings and art events, both authorities and artists continue to find virtual and electronic platforms to showcase their creativity.
‘The Colours of Desert 2020 - 7th Edition’ is a series of annual exhibitions that highlights different aspects of Qatar through creative works. Its last six editions have earned immense appreciation for portraying different colours of life in Qatar. This year the annual exhibition of MAPS International, a Doha-based social art community, will go virtual in August due to the current Covid-19 pandemic situation. The exhibition will be organised via personalised virtual gallery in collaboration with Katara Cultural Village.
The Exhibition will be based on the theme of ‘Qatar – Road to 2022.’ The registration for the artists is currently underway. Artists based in Qatar and the foreign participants of earlier Qatar International Art Festival exhibitions, also organised by MAPS International, can take part in the upcoming virtual exhibition. The eligible media include; painting, photography, mixed media, oil/chalk pastels, block/ink print, pottery/vessels, sculpture, digital art, collage, metal work, fibre/textile art, wood work, and contemporary craft.
Lina al-Aali is the curator of the exhibition. She is an artist, author, certified trainer and former member of the Board of Directors of the Qatar Society of Fine Arts. Sharing her views on the upcoming exhibition with Community, she said: “Any exhibition is a chance for any artist to show their talents, especially with organiser like MAPS International. They are not only considering artists based in Qatar but also from aboard to strengthen the Qatari identity. The exhibition is also aligned with the concept of different colours of desert.”
About the online exhibitions, Lina said: “The online exhibition is inviting those artists interested to contribute towards developing the content of these electronic exhibitions, which will be displayed after the completion of collection, arrangement and organisation of art pieces on the Katara website. These exhibitions include topics that explore the composition of the final art including, the story of the Qatari cuisine, eco-habitats and natural life. These exhibitions provide a platform for the exchange of creative ideas that can contribute to reducing the negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic.”
Rashmi Agarwal, president of MAPS International, said: “There are different colours in a desert. The exhibition highlights the diversity of life and culture in Qatar. The artists show their love and loyalty towards Qatar. We are expecting over 75 artists from 25 different countries to take part in the exhibition. The theme for this exhibition is very important. The artists will creatively portray the journey of Qatar to 2022. No doubt, destination is very important but the journey to reach the destination is equally important.”
Rashmi expressed her enthusiasm about the 7th edition of the exhibition by highlighting the significance of the digit seven in the universe and life. “Seven is the number of completeness and perfection – both physically and spiritually. It derives much of its meaning from being tied directly to God’s creation of all things. The number seven is much more prevalent in nature than most of us realise. There are seven colours in a rainbow; seven oceans; seven continents; seven vertebrae in the neck; seven layers of skin – two outer and five inner; ocean waves roll in sevens; sound has seven notes; there are seven directions; seven days in a week; the earth was created in seven days; a cube has seven dimensions; and so on.”
Highlighting the support the community of artists gets from Katara, she said: “I am really thankful to Katara for their continuous support and encouragement. They have always been helpful and supportive through all our previous exhibitions. It would not have been possible without the collaboration of Katara.”
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