News Column

Art students benefit from Waqif art Center workshops

August 31, 2014



AMONG its varied activities organised throughout the year, the Souq Waqif Art Center is offering five diverse workshops covering painting, photography and ceramic art until late September, with the aim of catering to local students.

The initiative, entitled Visual Art in Qatari Colour, consists of five workshops which are held in the evening thrice a week, and run for six weeks until September 29. They include, in addition to the photography course, others on the techniques of sculpture, drawing, painting and working with clay.

The workshops are facilitated by Qatari artists Talal al Qassemi, Ahmed al Bourdini and Masoud al Bulushi and resident artists Abdulnasser al Samarai and Mohammed al Douri, all of whom are experienced workshop facilitators and who have led previous courses organised by the Waqif Art Center.

At the end of the courses, each class will present their work to the general public in an exhibition slated to open in early October at the Center.

Qatar Tribune spoke with some of the facilitators of the workshops about what it is that distinguishes their courses from other similar ones, and about the value and importance of such initiatives in enriching the local art scene.

Talal al Qassemi is facilitating a ceramic arts course which focuses on traditional buildings, with their characteristic lines and architectural beauty. He explained that in addition to focusing on this significant and arguably under-appreciated aspect of Qatari heritage, his workshop would work to support it in another way as well, namely that of using traditional techniques and materials.

'The workshop by its very nature serves to breathe new life into traditional ceramics, by using a material known locally as khazaf, which is a special kind of clay made from local substances. It's worth noting that this venerable tradition is, to this day, in danger of dying, and it is my sincere hope that through my own artwork in clay, as well as through this and similar workshops, a new life would be breathed into the old practice , he added.

Masoud al Bulushi is leading an advanced course on painting local landscapes in Qatar, and focusing on an oft-neglected aspect thereof, ie the Qatari landscape as it appears in the Spring and Winter seasons. He explained that due to its brevity, this season was regularly under-represented in depictions of the country, with the emphasis instead being on desert environments and the coast and seaside, which, admittedly, were just as significant.

'It is more likely to see representations of this season in the works of Qatari artists, who have more experience of the local environment and basically know what to look for, if they are hoping to paint the Qatari landscape when there is more greenery and plants. Still, it is perhaps less common than one would expect, and this is a shame, as one would see if they saw such scenes only for themselves , he said.

Bulushi added, 'I have personally been to the north and the south of the country during the Spring season, and am convinced that the scenes which I witnessed at that time can be well represented through art, thus more accurately demonstrating the connection which exists between Qataris and their local environment.

Ahmed al Bourdini, facilitator of a course in photography for younger participants, discussed the initiative's motivations, explaining that the workshops were designed to genuinely improve the skills and abilities of participants in many different fields of artistic practice, and are led by qualified instructors who are acclaimed artist in their own right, each in their own medium.

Bourdini further underlined the need for such initiatives in the country, which boasts an ever increasing number of art lovers and students, eager to improve their techniques and skills.

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Source: Qatar Tribune

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