Qatar Museums (QM) initiatives such as the Doha Fire Station Artist in Residence programme give artists an opportunity to further develop their talents and connect with internationally renowned artists, Qatari artist Mohamed Faraj al-Suwadi has said.
“It creates a very strong social hub for creative users, a creative community to grow as well,” al-Suwaidi told reporters recently.
Besides being an animator, he also has a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from Plymouth University and a Master in Architecture from the University of Liverpool.
Al-Suwaidi is among the 19 artists who are displaying their artworks at the Artist in Residence exhibition, which opened on July 15 and runs until September 1. He applied for QM’s art residency in New York.
The exhibition, held under the patronage of QM Chairperson HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, showcases more than 55 artworks created during their nine-month residency.
“All these (QM programmes) are lovely opportunities for people to also grow and also it creates more connections to the outside world, in collaboration with international artists and with different countries as well,” al-Suwaidi said.
“This year is the Qatar-India Year of Culture and last year it was with Russia. I can say a lot of things, from it being a very unique experience, a huge source of encouragement for all local and international artists to take part in the programme and also collaborate internationally and be able to collaborate with each other as well,” he noted.
Such initiatives, al-Suwaidi stressed, serve as platforms for artists to introduce themselves into the community with their works, ideas and concepts.“It is continually growing in this case.”
About his piece displayed at the exhibition, the artist said he used numerous methods in developing the artwork — titled ‘Fabricated Emergence’, 2019, which saw the use of steel fabrication.
“The overall experience and inspiration I got from my pieces started with this idea of change, travelling abroad, studying there for five years and coming back — to see a level of mass development that definitely caught me by surprise,” the artist said.
“The level of change was the key word for everything for me, so the level of development, level of deconstruction, level of ageing of all these old buildings and new buildings that are coming up as well, and the contrast between them was very interesting,” he added.
“That’s how all these pieces started off with this level of contrast between the materiality and how all these steel works and materials were introduced into this body of sand (desert) in Qatar.
“It was more of a story line that I wanted to execute using different materials, and to be able to fuse that with the initial source being the sand as well.”
About the challenges faced in creating his piece, al-Suwaidi said steel fabrication was a new concept for him to work with.
“The way it worked, also the mechanics of it, was one interesting part but executing it was a wholly different experience,” he pointed out.
According to al-Suwaidi, it took him seven months to finish his artwork after beginning in September 2018. It was submitted a month ago.
He is also working on an array of topics for his future projects, researching and trying out new materials, tool sets and execution techniques.