Under the visionary guidance of Qatar Museums’ Chairperson, Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Qatar Museums (QM) is proud to open the first Fire Station, ‘Artist in Residence’ exhibition, on show at the Garage Gallery at the Fire Station from 3rd June to the end of November 2016.

As the current Artist in Residence programme draws to a close, the exhibition celebrates the huge accomplishments of the current group of 18 artists in residence, ten of whom are Qatari. The exhibition showcases selected works from each of the artists during their nine successful months in residency. It features a range of different mediums including art, photography, design and architecture and incorporates a variety of processes, research, prototypes, and finished outcomes. The exhibition provides artists with a platform where they can showcase their works and skills to the media, the community, fans of art and culture and collectors.

Othman Khunji Fire Station
Art installation by Othman Khunji

On show as part of the exhibition are artworks by Qatari artists in residence Aisha Al Sowaidi, Hana Saleh Al Saadi and Roda Ibrahim Al Nasr. Al Sowadi’s work, titled Remembrance of a Majlis, signifies memory and remembrance. The piece represents a traditional Majlis setting and conveys how memories are shifted and altered from what people see in that current moment, to what they remember in the future. Hana Saleh Al Saadi works primarily in sculpture to interrogate the way an object can communicate certain ideas through its existence alone. During the residency, Al-Saadi experimented with concrete in its fluid state and as a solid form in the iconic shape of the cinder block, and will present these works in the exhibition. Roda Ibrahim Al Nasr works across painting, photography, sculpture and installation, often taking one medium and appropriating it into another. The artist presents three new paintings and a set of sculptures that observe and exaggerate our changing attitudes towards cultural history and tangible, global identities.

Khalifa Al Obaidli Fire Station Director
Khalifa Al Obaidli, Fire Station Director

Commenting on the exhibition launch, Khalifa Al Obaidli, Director of the Fire Station, Said:

I am immensely proud to witness the incredible achievements of every single talented artist, presented beautifully in this end of residency exhibition. Each and every artist has really pushed the boundaries of innovation and creativity to raise the bar in contemporary art in the region and this exhibition highlights just how much our art community is flourishing. To see Qatar and its interest in artists grow is a great thing for the next generation of artistic talent in our country.’

Emiliana Soares Fire Station Artist in Resident
Emilina Soares and her sand carpet artwork

The Fire Station: Artist in Residence programme, which started in September 2015, sits at the heart of Doha’s thriving art community. During the artists’ nine months in residency, they collaborated with fellow creatives and developed their own techniques. They also benefitted from weekly mentoring sessions and worked alongside internationally acclaimed artists like Cai Guo-Qiang and Luc Tuymans, representing Qatar in the international cultural community.

Khalifa Al Obaidli added:

The Fire Station was first built in 1982, making it part of Qatari identity, and this initiative demonstrates our commitment at QM and at the Fire Station to nurture emerging talent and inspire an indigenous culture of creativity and innovation. Through this residency programme, we have nurtured and supported a vibrant local art scene and given young and emerging artists a shared space to experiment, create, grow, and flourish. We look forward to the next round of artists that will join us in September.’

Art by Christto and Andrew
Art by Christto and Andrew

Oil and gas exploration and production company Occidental Petroleum of Qatar Ltd. (Oxy Qatar) is the ‘Principal Sponsor’ of QM’s Fire Station Artist in Residence programme.

Stephen Kelly, the President and General Manager, Oxy Qatar, said:

Occidental Qatar is delighted to continue its long-established partnership with Qatar Museums. We are proud to support the establishment of this unique multi-faceted project – creating a studio environment in which artists can meet, work and exchange ideas; an exhibition space to showcase work created here and elsewhere; facilities, infrastructure and public spaces to support those in residence as well as the wider community; and doing all this by reimagining the use of an existing, iconic structure, renovated by a Qatari architect.  The Artist in Residence programme completes an interconnected and interdependent ecosystem that we are confident will enhance public awareness and appreciation of local art and cultural heritage.’

The Fire Station will welcome the next batch of talented creatives in September 2016, and 150 applications have been received from creative individuals across the country, eager to become one of the next 18 artists to take part.

The Doha Fire Station was built in 1982 as a Civil Defence building, and was occupied by the fire brigade until late 2012. It was then handed over to Qatar Museums to renovate and turn into the home of the artists in residence.

The Fire Station is open daily from 11 am – 7 pm except Tuesdays. Visit the gallery on Mohammed bin Thani Street or check out their website for more information.

Doha Fire Station Buenafotos

Read also: Fire Station: Artists in Residence