Following a two-year long project of meticulous preparation, and restoration, the conglomerate inaugurated ‘Qatar My Country,’ a photographic archival exhibition that reveals previously unseen, rare collections. The exhibition is now open to the public from 16 December 2013 from 10 am to 10 pm and will remain open until 12 January 2014. Besides to celebrate Qatar National Day, the exhibition is also in memory of the late Abdulsalam Mohammed Abu Issa, founder of Salam International. The exhibition hosted at The Gate Mall, uncovers images of life in Qatar stretching across the 1950’s through to the 1990’s. The collections on display reveal recognisable landmarks seen at key locations today, inspiring nostalgia and surprising many due to their capacity to bring the nation’s past into focus and placing it against the backdrop of its present.
The inauguration of Qatar My Country took place in the presence of Issa AbdulSalam Abu Issa Chairman and CEO of Salam International, Hussam AbdulSalam Abu Issa Vice Chairman and COO of Salam International and other distinguished guests, as well as members of the media. SIIL Chairman and CEO Issa AbdulSalam Abu Issa said:
It is with a sense of joy and pride that we join in the celebrations of Qatar National Day through a historical photography exhibition, Qatar My Country. SIIL undertook the hugely challenging endeavor of sharing Qatar’s historical legacy of development and growth in a culturally relevant way with the entire community of Qatar. We find it especially poignant that this year, our nation is celebrating National Day under the banner of ‘One Love,’ uniting Qatar’s nationals with expatriate communities, drawn together by a love for this country. A majority of photographs on display were taken personally by my father, SIIL’s founder the late Mr. Abdul Salam Mohammed Abu Issa. It is due to his passion and determination that Salam International has progressed into what it is today. The images chronicle not just Qatar’s dramatic transformation as a nation that rose from the desert but they also celebrate the spirit of entrepreneurship that was alive in its people. As you will see, the photographs before you span decades, narrating countless stories; from leaders who guided and invested in Qatar’s future to individuals whose energy and passion paved the way for the prosperity being enjoyed today. We are truly delighted to contribute to Qatar’s bank of memories in this manner and celebrate the unchanged spirit of Qatar,that has always been alive, in its people and places. Finally, I would like to thank HH The Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and HH The Father Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani. It is because of their wise vision that Qatar has prospered into a developed Nation.’
The late Abdul Salam Mohamed Abu Issa was not only one of the country’s best-known entrepreneurs but he also holds the distinction of being Qatar’s pioneer of photography. His collection on display at ‘Qatar My Country’ confirm the dedication of the Salam Studio team of yesteryear, who documented extraordinary moments in Qatar’s history, featuring the nation’s rulers of the past, capturing the country’s interactions with Arab leaders, the way of life of its people and chronicling the growth of spaces and places creating a valued reservoir of this nation’s memories.