Qatar Museums is proud to present the opening of ‘Cultures, From Different Angles’, a photography exhibition showcasing the best works from Qatari and Chinese photographers, on show at Building 19 in Katara Cultural Village from 7 to 30 November.
The exhibition is a unique visual interpretation of this year’s Qatar China 2016 Year of Culture, an initiative run under the patronage of HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, that seeks to promote cultural dialogue that builds bridges between the two nations.
In collaboration with the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Culture and the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China, ‘Cultures, From Different Angles’ presents the work of four Chinese and two Qatari photographers, who travelled to each other’s countries on a two-week expedition to understand and visually communicate a way of life different from their own.
On an incredible journey of discovery, Qatari photographers Ahmed Al Khulaifi and Saeed Al Marri travelled from the vast grasslands of northern China to the Li River, one of the purest rivers in China famous for ‘cormorant fishing’, a tradition dating back 1300 years where fishermen use trained aquatic birds to fish in rivers. During their trip, they captured their experiences of Chinese culture and traditions through their own lenses, engaging in an inspiring exchange of artistic discovery.
At the same time, Chinese photographers Bao Lixia, Huang Zuxiang, Liu Zhining and Xu Xinrong travelled across Qatar to experience Qatar’s vast desert landscapes, Doha’s vibrant cityscapes and architecture and Qatar’s deep traditions, customs and hospitality. The exhibition showcases the spectacular photography taken during their respective journeys.
Commenting on the exhibition, Mohammed Al Othman, Public and International Relations Director at Qatar Museums said:
This exhibition perfectly encapsulates the core values of the Years of Culture initiative in promoting mutual understanding between both Qatar and China. While interacting with people in their natural environments, the photographers present us with deeper insights into both Chinese and Qatari culture in this stunning collection of photography, representing each photographers individual style and experience.’
This is the third photography exhibition held in Qatar as part of the Years of Culture initiative. During the trips, photographers are encouraged to interact with the locals, learn from them and document their experiences via social media.
Every year, Qatar Museums runs the ‘Years of Culture’ initiative, which is designed to explore and celebrate cultural similarities and differences and deepen understanding between nations and their people through mutual exchanges of arts, culture, heritage and sport. The programme creates lasting, collaborative relationships between nations, partners and sponsors. Previous Years of Culture have included Qatar Japan 2012, Qatar UK 2013, Qatar Brazil 2014 and Qatar Turkey 2015. Next year, Qatar Museums will celebrate the Qatar Germany 2017 Year of Culture.
Qatar Airways is the official airline sponsor of the Years of Culture initiative, while the Shangri La Hotel group is the official hospitality sponsor for the Qatar China 2016 Year of Culture.
Photographer biographies – Qatar
Ahmed Al Khulaifi
Ahmed bought his first camera in 2003 and taught himself the art of photography at a time when information was scarce. In 2007, he bought his first professional camera and started entering competitions. In 2013, he became a professional photographer. Ahmed has taken part in several exhibitions, most recently ‘Shifting Sands: A Journey of Qatar and its People’ at the Sheikh Faisal Museum and ‘The Image Remains’ in Katara. He is a storyteller at heart and is currently involved in writing short stories and making short films.
Ahmed was inspired by the richness of Chinese culture and heritage and in particular the cormorant fishermen. He likens cormorant fishing to traditional falconry in Qatar, and related to the fishermen as he grew up on the Arabian Gulf and has always lived and worked close to the sea.
Saeed Al Marri
Saeed first started taking photographs in 2012, and has a special interest in portrait photography. Fascinated by people’s lives and the emotions and expressions conveyed through their eyes and faces, he delved deeper into capturing portrait images. Saeed has taken part in several local and regional competitions. One of his images of the Souq Waqif in Qatar was chosen as part of the National Geographic photography competition. In addition, two of his works from China received recognition from the National Geographic team.
As a Qatari, Saeed was struck by the similarities between the ethnic Mongols of northern China and his own culture. He was particularly impressed by the hospitality and generosity of the Mongols towards him. He was also drawn to their unique way of life which has been preserved for thousands of years despite progress and development in other parts of China and the world. But it was the work ethic of the Mongol people that left a lasting impression on Saeed. He witnessed people of all ages working incredibly hard at any task, in order to survive.
See more of his works on Instagram
Photographer biographies – China
Bao Lixia is a photographer at the Zhoushan Cultural Center in Zhejiang. In 1997, she took a refresher course in photography at the Beijing Film Academy and has been taking photographs ever since. Bao has taken part in numerous solo exhibitions, has won several awards for her work and has published a book called Selecting Photography Essence. In Qatar, Bao was most impressed by the traditional clothing worn by the Qatari people, which she tried to convey in her work.
Huang Zuxiang is the Director of the Quzhou Cultural Center and the Intangible Cultural Heritage Protection Centre. His work “Return of Wild Geese” won the bronze prize for the National Public Photography exhibition. Huang focused on the fishing boats, fishermen, busy markets and cityscapes of Doha in his photography, attempting to reflect their original look.
Liu Zhining is a photographer at the Zhejiang Provincial Cultural Centre. He has successfully planned and organised more than 80 national, provincial and county levels photography competitions, exhibitions, forums, training classes, seminars and other photographic activities. Liu was most impressed by the mix of tradition and modernity in Qatar.
Xu Xinrong is Deputy Director of the Wuyi Cultural Centre. He has won several accolades and his works have been published in several high profile newspapers and magazines in China. Xu was fascinated by Qatar’s Falcon Hospital at Souq Waqif, as it is the largest and most advanced specialised falcon hospital in the world. He was also interested in Doha as a coastal city located in the desert. The fact that Qatar was once a small fishing town which became a prosperous new modern city inspired many of his photographs.
‘Cultures, From Different Angles’ is part of Qatar Museums’ Qatar China 2016 Year of Culture programme. For more information, visit Qatar Museums.