The opening of new museums and art initiatives in Qatar such as the Doha Fire Station has created a positive impact on young and emerging artists in the country, Qatar-based artist Michael Anthony Perrone has said.
“I’ve been living in Doha since 2013, and have been able to both witness, and participate in, the growing art scene in the country. Qatar Museums (QM) has been an integral part of this creative growth in the community,” the artist told Gulf Times on the sidelines of QM’s Jedariart initiative.
Perrone, currently in the US, is one of the 17 artists who will “breathe life into designated walls across the city” as part of the QM’s ongoing campaign, launched last month, to activate shared urban areas. He is being assisted by former and current students in painting a mural at the Doha Festival Interchange.
He noted that the Doha Fire Station houses several galleries, which have been integral to growing the local art scene.
Perrone said that many of Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar) students have participated in exhibitions at the Doha Fire Station and in the Artist in Residence programme, which he described as “an amazing incubator for young local artists.”
The nine-month long residency, under the visionary guidance of QM chairperson HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, supports local artists by providing them with a platform to develop their creative practice.
Jedariart, organised in partnership with the Supreme Committee of Beautification of Roads and Public Places, QRail, Woqod, and the Doha Fire Station: Artist in Residence, will see artists create artwork at designated locations in Qatar.
Other artists can be seen creating their pieces at Al Abraj Park, Al Asmakh area, Al Khor Interchange, Post Office Park, 5/6 Park, 5/6 Flyover, Qatar National Library Metro Station, and the Woqod Petrol Station in Fereej Kulaib.
About the art scene in Doha vis-à-vis the pandemic and other challenges in the region, Perrone said Covid has had an impact on the art scene, curtailing some exhibitions and making it more difficult to go and view artworks in the past months.
“I am hopeful that as the negative impacts of the pandemic ease, these issues will improve. As I have been away from Doha since last Spring, I am less aware of the day to day impacts of the pandemic... but I keep in touch with friends and colleagues, so I am aware of some impacts,” said the artist, who is also an Assistant Professor of Painting at VCUarts Qatar.