Qatari artists bridge cultures, inspire dialogue at art exhibition in the Nation’s Capital

The Qatar-America Institute (QAI), in partnership with Reconnecting Arts, hosted the premiere for the exhibition “Ruwad: the pioneering contemporary arts of Qatar” in downtown Washington, DC.

Qatari photographer Khalid Al Hammadi discusses his work with a guest at the opening reception of "Ruwad" in Washington, DC. (Photo credit: Albert Ting/Qatar-America Institute)
Qatari photographer Khalid Al Hammadi discusses his work with a guest at the opening reception of “Ruwad” in Washington, DC. (Photo: Albert Ting/Qatar-America Institute)

Ruwad, “pioneers” in Arabic, is a collection of both established and up-and-coming Qatar-based artists that are transforming the artistic landscape in the region. From painting to photography to installation pieces, Ruwad presents the leading visionary minds of Qatar whose creative works continue to inspire and promote the cultural richness of the region.

The opening reception for Ruwad included many prominent Washingtonians, such as curators from top museums, well-known local and foreign artists, former diplomats, and VIPs highly influential in the arts scene.

The premiere was a festive event complete with the full art exhibition on display, live traditional Middle Eastern music, and remarks provided by former US Ambassador to Qatar and Chairman of the Board of Directors for QAI, Mr Chase Untermeyer. Mr Untermeyer noted that a “core component of QAI’s mission is to promote a platform for cultural exchange between the US and Qatar. We celebrate these artists not only as pioneers in the arts but also as pioneers in the growing bond between both nations.”

Qatar-based artist Emelina Soares, an artist of Indian descent who was born and raised in Doha, treated guests to a live demonstration of her sand carpet work which bridges both of her identities in a vividly colourful fashion.

“Art as a medium intrinsically connects people,” Soares remarked, “Representing the works of a diverse group of artists from Qatar demystifies many notions about the Middle East and Muslims in general.”

Also present at the event were three other artists whose work is part of the Ruwad collection, some visiting the United States from Qatar for the first time. These artists were Jameela Al Shraim, a former art teacher turned painter and sculptor, Hayfaa Al Khuzai, a former art teacher whose paintings are reflective of Qatari heritage, and Khalid Al Hammadi, a Qatari photographer whose images capture the changing identity of Qataris living in Qatar.

“This opportunity to facilitate cross-cultural dialogue is much needed in this current climate,” Al Hammadi noted, “I am honoured to be part of this exhibition, both through Reconnecting Arts as a partner as well as a Qatari artist.”

The Ruwad exhibit will be open to the public from May 9 to May 15 at a pop-up gallery located at 1643 Connecticut Ave. NW in Washington, DC. More information about the art, the artists and the exhibition can be found at this link.

About the Qatar-America Institute

The Qatar-America Institute (QAI) is an independent nonprofit organization that aims to provide a free and open space for dialogue, research and debate on the political, economic, social and cultural synergies between the United States and Qatar. By providing an environment for the exchange of ideas, unobscured by political or regional interests, QAI promotes cultural and educational exchange to strengthen the strategic relationship between Qatar and the US.

About Reconnecting Arts

Reconnecting Arts is a platform supporting emerging contemporary Middle Eastern creatives. Its aim is to increase the visibility of Arab emerging creatives in the region as well as internationally through exhibitions, features, magazines and workshops. Their mission is to provide opportunities for a network of creatives and the community to Reconnect with each other, to provide opportunities for audiences to learn about and participate in activities that encourage integration, and to facilitate cross-cultural dialogue.

Written by Manny King John

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