Using art as a magical bridge to dispel distance
December 24 2020 08:57 PM
Organisers, artists, and visitors pose for a group photo.
Organisers, artists, and visitors pose for a group photo.

Qatar has become a melting pot for different cultures as the country encourages all expatriates to have their artistic, literary and cultural activities. The creative and imaginative minds keep presenting exciting ideas to highlight the diversity in Qatar.
Inaugurated recently at Building-19 of Katara, ‘Transition’ is an exhibition that showcases the changes experienced by Latin American artists while living in Qatar for many years and the ways in which their art creates a magical bridge where distance dissipates. As many as seven artists associated with Latin American Artists in Qatar exhibited 26 creative works underlining their journey of transition in Doha.
The exhibition that will continue till January 7 is organised by Katara in collaboration with the Embassy of Mexico in Qatar. Inaugurated by Dr Khalid bin Ibrahim al-Sulaiti, general manager of Katara, and Graciela Gomez Garcia, Mexican ambassador to Qatar, the opening ceremony was attended by art enthusiasts who were allowed inside the gallery in limited numbers observing Covid-19 safety measures announced by the Ministry of Public Health.

The participating artists are namely; Alma Delia Barrera from Mexico, Isabella Palma Lopez from Honduras, Maria al-Bader from Qatar with roots in Uruguay, Robert Garita from Costa Rica, Jonathan Machado from Venezuela, Juan Miguel Ramirez aka ICARO from Mexico and guest artist Lamia Awad from Canada and of Syrian origin. Using different techniques and styles, the artists represent the change or transition they and Qatar have undergone over a period of time.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Mexican ambassador thanked Katara for organising the exhibition and the diplomatic representatives of Argentina, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. “It is real joy to be with you this morning despite the social distancing and the restrictions imposed by the pandemic and to celebrate art and the important role of culture to bring people and nations together.”
Dilating upon the idea of the exhibition, Ambassador Graciela said: “Latin America and the Gulf are two distant regions that do not seem to share many common elements at first sight. However, the physical distance imposed by geography has never been an obstacle for nomadic artists who embark on a perennial transition while carrying their roots with themselves.
“Distance plays a crucial role. It triggers the impulse to maintain a vital connection with their origins and identity while engaging in the process of adaptation required to nurture attachments and to grow roots in the adopted land. Once this process takes place, the magic of fusion and dialogue between cultures transforms and enrich both the artists and their palettes. In ‘Transition,’ we witness the changes experienced by artists after living in Qatar for many years, and the ways in which their art creates a magical bridge where distance dissipates.”
The exhibition was originally meant to be organised in March this year but the pandemic delayed it. “After months of living with the pandemic, in which physical distance has become a necessary tool for survival and an expression of our care for others, this exhibition provides us with comforting closeness and a much needed embrace to our senses. It is truly an honour to acknowledge that we Latin Americans know how to be resilient wherever we are, to flourish in both green and arid regions, with a strong community-oriented spirit.”
The ambassador is a staunch believer in cultural diplomacy. “Cultural diplomacy is one of the top three avenues for the Mexican embassy. This is all about people. We learn about each other through cultural exchanges. It not only includes arts but also sports. In Qatar, they are doing things in a right way. Artists from all over the world can present their work at Katara. Qatar has been very smart in their vision to open to the world using these common languages – art and sports – that bring people together.”

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