HH Sheikha Al Mayassa bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums (QM) and one of the most prominent players in the rarefied world of art collections, is asserting art as part of Qatar’s identity. According to HH Sheikha Al Mayassa, the country’s development of museums and art collections is part of embracing their Arab identity. In a TEDx Talk, she said, ‘our mission is not cultural integration and independence. We do not want to have what there is in the West. We don’t want their collections.’
In the recent years, Qatar has opened the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) in 2008, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in 2010 and recently, the new Fire Station building and Artists in Residence programme in March 2015. Other art museums and galleries in the country: ALRIWAQ Doha, Anima Gallery and Lounge and Gallery One at The Pearl-Qatar, Souq Waqif Art Center and the VCUQatar Gallery.
Introducing Patric Rozario
Qatar has become a hub of art and artists from around the world. Artists like Malaysian Patric Rozario, who has been in Qatar for more than 10 years, witnessed the art development in the country. ‘It was difficult. There was no art gallery in 2004 and 2005. It was frustrating to even have an audience to start with,’ said Patric who first arrived to Qatar in 2004. ‘Doha, it’s new…many years to go down the road but what is missing is opportunity for non-locals. That is painful. Any place I go, there’s not enough opportunity for us, but the world is changing. It’s the beginning so stick to your guns and keep doing the same thing again and again, and talk to people about what you do. Qatar is recognising people. It’s a big change and very soon expatriates and visiting artists will find great opportunities in this country,’ he said.
Today, Patric is a full-time artist, going with the brand name – ‘Own A Rozario’. However, art is not what brought him to Qatar. Patric was travelling the GCC in 2004. At the same time, he was running an advertising and design company. ‘I closed down my operations, my company, and came searching for the easy treasure. So in 2004, I was here…I came to Doha and I found myself as the first marketing staff at The Pearl-Qatar so I worked as the Senior Creative Officer at The Pearl-Qatar and concurrently, I rolled over my other hat which is that of an artist,’ he said.
Patric is a well-rounded artist, an occupation he began professionally in 2002 although not full-time. ‘In 2002, I became pro in arts so I started selling. It was the year I started professional because it was about time,’ he explained. When he began his profession as an artist, Patric was a well-known thread artist. ‘I’m always searching for something new. For example, at one point, I was known as a thread artist because I used to work with thread. A thread to me is solid but once you start dropping them, it becomes like liquid in my hand and I create any shapes and colours and things like that. So I enjoyed the wow factor from people, the surprise…I used to work a lot with thread and I looked around, those days there was no Internet, asking if there was anybody working on canvas and thread. They said nobody except one lady who did big work pieces with thread. So I moved on with that and I sold a lot of pieces only because it was different,’ Patric explained.
The Cloud Dance
Eventually, Patric stopped creating thread art simply because he wanted to discover new mediums. As he was crafting his art, Patric met the late Qatar-Indian artist, Maqbool Fida Husain (MF Husain), one of the most celebrated Indian and Qatari artists of the 20th century. ‘I met this great man and he kept telling me, and he was a mentor for me for awhile, ‘Patric, focus, focus, focus, focus.’ I asked him why? So he told me somebody will discover you,’ said Patric. Soon after, Patric discovered his love for clouds and decided to make clouds his focus by a series called ‘Cloud Dance’. He painted clouds on canvases using oil and acrylics paint. In addition, Patric joined the Cloud Appreciation Society in the US and sold ‘Cloud Dance’ paintings to them. ‘Clouds are beautiful. You can look at me, look at the bottom and things like that but you hardly look up. Doha has beautiful clouds in winter. If you really look up, it’s stunning. And we miss it. There’s something beautiful about clouds…I love clouds and I watching them so that’s what I do in painting,’ he explained.
In addition to focusing on ‘Cloud Dance’, Patric has discovered another focus, Pearlappetite, a unique artwork, which involves incorporating pearls, crystals and other embellishments into painted plates. ‘There are people who paint clouds but nobody does this so I’m taking it forward and concentrating on these two alone,’ Patric said. Pearlappetite was born out of Patric’s love for pearls. ‘I was working on a canvas. I always have a pearl with me in my wallet. And by mistake, one of the pearls fell on my wet canvas, on wet paint and I tried to take it out with my hand and it was messing up. It fell on a spot where I had painted in detail and I used tweezers to pull it out and it fell down again. The pearl was covered with oil and acrylics, I took it away and tried to wipe it and said ‘how do I fix this now’? And I said, there’s a reason why this happened’ And what I did is put it back in the wet paint and said ‘hey that’s nice. Pearl on paint?!’ and suddenly it blew up in front me,’ explains Patric. He went on to look for beads, crystals, semi-precious stones, buttons and other embellishments to add to the canvas. As he was doing this, Patric wondered why not use the plate or support in which he placed his paint on as the canvas. ‘This itself looks beautiful, the container that held my pearls…that container, that happy accident, gave birth to plates and pearls,’ he said. Patric has been working on Pearlappetite for six years now, creating four or five pieces per month. He purchases his pearls from Swarovski, Tahiti and from the pearl diver, Ismail Al Jassim, at Souq Waqif. In addition, now Patric is incorporating Arabic calligraphy into his Pearlappetite and other artwork. According to Patric, Pearlappetite is an art piece that shares a story of Qatar, land of the pearls, and could be gifted to visitors when they leave so they may have a piece of Qatar with them. Packaged with a stand, Pearlappetite can be placed in offices or homes on coffee tables, cupboards or display areas as a centerpiece. Patric even published a book on Pearlappetite. For more information on Pearlappetite, visit ownarozario.com
In addition to being an artist, Patric has taught art from 2011 to 2013, teaching both children and adults. ‘Teaching was the best part of my journey because when you teach officially, you become the best student because you learn lots of things in an organised manner. You thought you knew these things but you need to be put into perspective…so for three years, I taught and the best part of my life in art was when I taught and became a better artist because of that,’ he said. During his time teaching, and when the Villaggio fire occurred in 2012 – leaving 19 people dead (13 children and six adults) – Patric organised an art support campaign for children to create artwork to gift to the families who lost their loved ones in the fire.
From his Pearlappetite to Cloud Dance, Patric’s artwork has been exhibited at various locations including Souq Waqif and Café Ceramique. For art in Qatar, Patric has many hopes. ‘Let’s have pearl culture here. We can create Qatar’s brand in art and pearls then market them in many ways,’ he said. Currently, Patric is working with Swarovski on an art programme but hopes to working with ministers in Qatar to establish a Moreno or pearl art culture in Qatar.
Author: Ola Diab, Photographer: Andrea Buenafe
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