Children have a unique, pure vision of the world around them. When they express their individual perspectives using their rich, untapped artistic talents, a glowing imagination emerges, expressing fresh insight and brimming with creativity and innovation.
Those who have recently visited Qatar National Library (QNL) would have seen more than 30 canvases painted in acrylic colours, created by the fingertips of children who participated in a number of art workshops organised by the library. These were run by an elite group of Qatari artists as mentors including Fatima al-Nesf, Dana Safar, and many others.
Last October, QNL launched the Children's Art Display 'Reesha', which highlights the artistic talents inherent in this promising generation of students. Organising the student art display is part of the library’s role as a cultural institution which devotes its utmost effort to promoting imagination, nurturing creativity, unlocking talents and developing skills, with the aim of encouraging children to showcase their artistic talents to patrons and visitors.
About the exhibition, Hind al-Khulaifi, Manager of Children's and Young Adults' Library, says: “We firmly believe that the library’s role is not limited to giving access to books and spreading the culture of reading among the young, but also includes developing a balanced personality for children, enhancing their talents and encouraging them to express their ideas and visions in a variety of ways, whether in writing, public speaking, or artistic creativity."
"These art workshops were an ideal opportunity for participating students to hone their artistic skills under the guidance of an elite group of Qatari artists. The result was a unique collection of paintings rich in meanings and connotations about the character of Qatar, its features and its most beautiful aspects. We now have a new promising generation of artists and we are looking forward to more artistic expressions in the near future," al-Khulaifi added.
"The aim of the art display is to connect children with their cultural identity, boost their sense of belonging, and unleash their artistic and creative imagination," says Nour Mohamed, children’s librarian and the exhibition curator. “Young people’s contributions were varied and reflected their diverse creativity through paintings which combined the past and the present. Children's talents have been unleashed and manifested themselves on canvas paintings with their spontaneous drawings. Perhaps the most beautiful description of this display is ‘Qatar in the eyes of its children.”
Noor Muhammad added: “Each student became immersed in their imagination and creativity. Some of them imagined Qatar as a mother with jewelry and gold on the hands of her daughters. Others painted the falcon, symbol of Arab and Qatari identity. Qatar’s glorious past and heritage was depicted as a modern lighthouse on Doha's towering buildings. Each drawing expressed a focused and deep perspective that forms a bigger image of Qatar in the eyes of our children and their creative pens. The guided art workshops were very successful in enhancing children's abilities of expression through drawing.”
Dana al-Safar, one of the mentoring artists participating in the exhibition’s workshops, said: “Art is a mirror of nations that reflects our progress, development, culture and ambition for the world to see. This is what our government has aspired to achieve in the past and the present through their efforts that sponsored and supported arts as in all its forms. Pablo Picasso once said: ‘Everything you can imagine is real’ - the seed of creativity begins with an imagination which has no limits. No one has a rich and fertile imagination similar to children.”
From her side, artist Fatima Nesf said: "The choice of colour is necessary, regardless of the means of expression, whether this art expresses something visual, sensory, auditory, or even a performance. The work of art should be the subject of expression and appreciation for its beauty and strength. This is what I found in the Reesha art workshops at QNL with my dear students. I would like to thank the library for this unique experience with them."
Rehab Muhammad, Art Education Teacher at Omar bin Al Khattab First School for Boys, commented: “We were pleased with the participation of our young creators in the Reesha, which shed light on our beloved country, between the past and the present. This exhibition contributed to enhancing our students' cultural identity and creative talents in line with the principle of community partnership between the school and our cultural national edifice, QNL."
From Moaz Bin Jabal Primary School for Boys, Ibrahim Mahjoub Ahmed Idris, Visual Arts Coordinator, commented: "There is no doubt that art has an effect on soul and conscience, which is reflected in the practical and personal life. Art is one of the best means for educating young people, as it works to revive societal taste and build a generation capable of facing difficulties and challenges. We saw and touched this in the distinguished art display, Reesha, which provided us with a distinctive and wonderful experience."
Aisha Al-Jaber, supervisor and visual arts coordinator at Riffa Primary School for Girls, noted that the talented students had benefited from the workshop, Qatar in the Past and the Present, delivered by the Qatari artist Dana Al-Safar, which the Library hosted. The exhibition also included paintings by male and female students from several other schools, namely Khawla Bint Al-Azwar Primary School for Girls, Al-Bayan Al-Oula School for Girls, Taiba Model Independent School and Abdullah bin Zaid School.
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