After welcoming two Turkish photographers in Qatar earlier this month, Qatar Turkey 2015: Year of Culture is sending two Qatari photographers, Sara Al Obaidly and Saleh Al Marri, on an expedition in Turkey to capture its landscapes and people.
Following the success of last year’s photographic exchange programme, ‘Qatar Brazil: A Journey from the Amazon to the Desert’, the Qatar Turkey 2015 exchange programme continues to build on a legacy of connecting people through cultural activities. The photographers are challenged to capture the essence of Turkey through Qatari eyes and vice versa. The two Qatari photographers will begin their exploration of the picturesque, historic and unique landscapes of Turkey on May 25.
This adventure gives them the opportunity to learn more about Turkey, its culture and people. Immersed in the day-to-day lives of families and artisans, the photographers will enjoy a rare opportunity to photograph the essence of Turkey, among its ethnic and geographic diversity. From the vibrant quarters of Istanbul to the caves houses of Cappadocia, from bustling bazaars to peaceful mosques and sumptuous palaces, they will go behind the scenes to interpret in images Turkey’s culture and history as it is in the heart of its people.
In September 2015 an exhibition in Qatar will showcase the journeys of the Qatari and Turkish photographers. This unique opportunity for photographers to participate in Qatar Turkey 2015: Year of Culture is organised in collaboration with the Qatar Photographic Society (QPS) and the Ministries of Culture of Qatar and Turkey, and with the support of Platinum Sponsor Exxon Mobil, Official Airline Qatar Airways and Hospitality Sponsor W Doha Hotel.
Sara Al Obaidly is a portrait and documentary photographer from Qatar. She completed her education in England, where she received her BA and MA at The University of Brighton.
Confronting contemporary political, philosophical and social issues, with a clear and incisive vision, Al Obaidly presents the intimate moments of human emotion through portraiture and a wider view of the region and its intricacies in her landscape compositions. Recently commissioned by Qatar Museums, Al Obaidly’s work ‘Qatar: Old Hearts, New World’ was showcased in an exhibition of Qatari and Brazilian artists ‘Huna Hunak’ (‘Here There’) as part of Qatar Brazil 2014: Year of Culture at the Al Riwaq Exhibition Space, Doha.
Al Obaidly has been shortlisted for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Award in 2014 and her piece, ‘Together We Stand’, was on exhibit at The National Portrait Gallery, London until February 2015. Her works were also shortlisted for the Association of Photographers (AOP) Award and The Al Thani Award.
Saleh Al Marri graduated from Qatar University with a degree in Media in 2008. He is currently studying for a Masters at Cairo University in the Role of Visual Culture in Social Development. Al Marri works full-time as a civil servant in the Qatari government. He was introduced to the world of photography in 2007 during a university photo-journalism project for Al Raya newspaper where he started to learn how to use photography to send a message and relate an emotive story. He felt he was able to express people’s lives and tackle social issues.
Al Marri is an award-winning photographer and some of his achievements include the Traditional Dhow competition in Qatar, the Sheikh Sultan festival in UAE, and a commission by Abu Dhabi TV, which created a mosaic sculpture of Al Marri’s photos, unveiled in April 2015 in a popular square in Abu Dhabi. Anticipating the journey, Al Marri says:
I have a lot of passion and enthusiasm for photography, and I want to channel this energy into a great project. And this expedition is the opportunity of a lifetime. I feel it is an occasion to represent my county in a way that will further my future and hopefully Qatar’s future.’
Reflecting on the exchange programme, Safiya Al Hajari, Director of the Qatar Museums’ Office of Strategic Cultural Relations, said:
Both countries are home to rich and diverse cultural practices. The aim for such a cultural exchange is to capture both Turkish and Qatari cultural identities through the artistic expression of photographers. Such an exchange is at the heart of Qatar Turkey 2015: Year of Culture mission.’
ExxonMobil Qatar is Qatar Turkey 2015: Year of Culture’s Platinum Sponsor. The company and Qatar Museums share a long-term relationship based on mutual respect and understanding, and its support for this important initiative emphasizes ExxonMobil Qatar’s efforts to ensure that there is a deeper international understanding of Qatar, its rich culture, and its position as a world-class center for business and cultural activities. Commenting on Exxon’s involvement in the project Alistair Routledge, President and General Manager for ExxonMobil Qatar, said:
There is such a wealth of artistic talent in Qatar, and this photographic exchange is a wonderful opportunity for Qatari photographers to share their talent and artistic expression with an international audience. Qatar Turkey 2015: Year of Culture emphasises the importance of culture in bringing both nations closer together, while celebrating the beauty and uniqueness of each. Qatar has become a global example of prosperity, and ExxonMobil is proud to support the country by helping to sustain its thriving society and preserve its rich heritage through programs and initiatives such as this one.’
Qatar- Turkey 2015 year of culture is also supported by Qatar Airways as official Airline, and W Doha Hotel & Residence as hospitality Sponsor.