To highlight sustainable development and celebrate the 50th anniversary of US-Qatar diplomatic relations, ‘Across Borders: Textile Heritage', a pop-up exhibition was opened at M7, Msheireb Downtown Doha, Saturday.
The charge d’affaires of the US embassy, Evyenia Sidereas, was the guest honour on the occasion who pinned a shawl to the exhibition site to mark the opening of the event. Several dignitaries, including Greek ambassador Eleni Michalopoulou, were present at the exhibition which is open to visitors until August 30.

From Right: Evyenia Sidereas, Lauren Michelle Morell and Sarah Hannibal along with an M7 official at the exhibition.

Designed and curated by Lauren Michelle Morell, a 2020 graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar, the exhibition aims to raise awareness of the environmental impacts of fast fashion and pay homage to sustainable Qatari Bedouin and indigenous American textile traditions through cross cultural garments.
Rooted in both Qatari and indigenous American cultures, the exhibition showcases innovative approaches to preserving traditional and sustainable practices, highlighting Qatari sadu weaving and indigenous American patterns.

Another view of some of the exhibits.

In contrast to modern fashion production, the garments embody traditional, environmentally friendly textiles and promote the legacy of zero-waste processes. Lauren and her weaving collaborator, Sarah Hannibal, help viewers trace the traditions of Qatar and the Americas and reflect on sustainable sourcing and application of textiles and fabrics.
In addition to garments, the exhibition features a short documentary tracing the traditions of sadu, filmed in collaboration with Heenat Salma Farm and Caravane Earth. The exhibition focuses on heritage preservation, sustainability, and diversity, achieving the ethos of cultures in harmony.

Evyenia Sidereas along with Lauren Michelle Morell pinning a shawl at the exhibition site. PICTURES: Thajudheen

Speaking to Gulf Times, Morell said it took over three months for her to complete the garments in collaboration with Weaving in Doha of Sarah Hannibal. “All the garments have been made with upcycled materials. I have used curtain materials, blankets, rugs among others to make them. Altogether 10 garments have been designed and presented at the exhibition in addition to other products.”
The designer said that she has plans to produce more such exhibits in the coming months.
The exhibition is funded by a grant from the US State Department.
Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the exhibition, Sidereas said that the exhibition is one of the facets of the increasing ties between the US and Qatar.
“Climate change is a major topic for Qatar and the US and we are looking at every opportunity to enhance environmentally sustainable and innovative technologies. We always focus on sustainable products and this exhibition is an example with the use of upcycled materials and it is one of the main themes that we want to highlight through this exhibition. The US is committed to support programmes that reduce carbon emissions, improve waste water production capacities and promote mutual values of self-expression and cultural preservation. This exhibition emphasises the importance of achieving environment friendly practices in every field including fashion,” said Sidereas.
She also noted that there will be many more events coming up this year to mark the milestone of 50 years of diplomatic relations between both the nations and the annual strategic dialogue between the US and Qatar also is being planned.
Morell is a contemporary Latin American fashion designer whose work is inextricably linked to the redefinition of tradition. A Puerto Rican national, she was brought up in different parts of the world, enriched by many cultures and studied in different countries and regions.