The Italian embassy, in partnership with Katara – the Cultural Village, opened a unique exhibition at Building 19 Sunday, showcasing the works of Qatari artist Fatima Mohammed and Italian artist Elisabetta Farina aimed at raising awareness on the dangers of plastic pollution.
“I would like to thank the two artists… for enlightening us with their works, through their imagination, allowing us to understand that this problem goes beyond human understanding somehow, you need art to actually, somehow, through art and irony put a spotlight on this incredible programme that we all have to face, which is pollution, not just of the ocean but also of land,” Italian ambassador Alessandro Prunas said in his speech.
The exhibition, titled “Plastic Seas: Eco-Fables on Show”, which will run until October 2, originates from the artistic projects of Farina and Mohammed, who partnered with the Italian embassy in Doha to bring attention locally on the global climate emergency.
The event was attended by Katara general manager Prof Khalid bin Ibrahim al-Sulaiti, Unesco regional director and representative in the GCC and Yemen Anna Paolini; British ambassador Jon Wilks; Qatar Foundation’s (QF) CEO Office Strategic Initiatives and Partnership Development director, and head of QF’s delegation attending the pre-Conference of the Parties (COP) 26 Aysha Abdulhameed A J al-Mudahka; Education Above All pre-COP26 delegate Dana K al-Anzy; Arab Youth Climate Movement Qatar executive director and Youth Representative Qatar in Milan Neeshad Shafi; and Youth representative Qatar in Milan Fatima Abuhaliqa.
“Environment and climate change degradation are undermining the rights to health and well-being of many communities whose survival is at risk. These issues must be urgently addressed by the International Community before it is too late,” the envoy added.
The exhibition also underscores the urgency of ridding seas, as well as lands, of plastic pollution, which is reflected in the works of the two artists.
“I hope the show raises awareness about the (dangers) of plastic pollution and how we should try to protect the environment,” said Mohammed, whose work is focused on the social anatomy of the Arabian Gulf and how it has evolved over time.
Mohammed’s works also showcase “the grim reality of plastic islands” in the ocean: patches of floating plastic debris and deep in the waste land, following the wanderings and explorations of Anaj, the character which she created.
The eco-fables on show – through art installations, design objects, photos and projections – aims to highlight how climate change is threatening seriously the earth and the presence of mankind.
Farina lauded the works of Mohammed and thanked Prof al-Sulaiti, Prunas, and embassy officials, for their contribution to the event, which she hopes “to give a little contribution to raise the awareness on this huge and urgent environmental issue”.
This year, Italy is leading these efforts to protect the environment by assuming the G20 presidency and co-chairing with the UK the COP26, a key milestone in the global fight against climate change.
Before COP26 takes place, Italy is hosting in Milan from September 30 to October 2 a preparatory meeting called pre-COP, which provides a selected group of countries with an informal setting to discuss and exchange views on some key political aspects ahead of the event.
Italy is also committed to increase the non-state actors engagement by hosting during the pre-COP a range of initiatives promoted by nonprofit organisations, associations and civil society.
“I am very glad that Qatar has ensured the participation of a large delegation led by QF with a full programme of very interesting activities.
“It proves that the commitment by our countries at government level against climate change is deeply shared and supported by our peoples, especially young generations. I am also very pleased that two young delegates from Qatar have been selected to take part in the youth event “Youth4Climate: Driving Ambition,” Prunas said, congratulating Abuhaliqa and Shafi.
During the event in Milan, Abuhaliqa and Shafi, the envoy added, “will have the chance, together with other young participants coming from all around the world, to put forward ideas and concrete proposals on some of the most pressing issues on the climate agenda.”
For her part, al-Mudahka said: “At QF, we believe we play a key role in supporting the nation’s vision of a future that is pegged on sustainability. For the past 25 years, we have made significant investments in social development, research and innovation, and education – all of which are integral to shaping a nation that reflects not just environmental sustainability, but sustainability in all its forms.
“Driving our efforts further, we are very excited to be participating in Youth4Climate: Driving Ambition that is taking place in Milan next week. Through our active participation, we are demonstrating how we believe sustainability should be constantly at the top of the global agenda, and that conversations about how to build a more sustainable world should be taking place where the most urgent action is required.”
Al-Anzy, meanwhile, said: “During times of environmental crisis the provision of education is generally the first service provision to be affected, forcing many children to drop out of school. The most marginalised might not return at all to school due to economic hardship. Our programmes have geared an approach to tackle climate change as a global challenge with support from our strategic partner QFFD.”
In a press statement, Wilks said: “On behalf of the UK Government and the British embassy in Doha, I am delighted to participate in the launch of this exhibition. This event draws attention to one of the most pressing issues contributing to degrading the global environment. I wish all the participants success in building public support for decisive action to limit pollution and preserve a sustainable marine environment for all.”
Paolini, on the other hand, said: “The UN have declared the decade 2021-2030 as a decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. Unesco is a major partner in leading the decade through its International Oceanic Commission.
“From the many UN, experts, and activists’ statements and appeals, each of us is now aware of the urgency to change behaviour in the way we leave and in the decision we take. Raising awareness about the criticality we globally face is also through events like this. While we admire art though, let’s not forget to act”.