June 16, 2024

‘Neighbours of the Sea’ exhibition showcases pioneering Qatari artists

The Fire Station: Artist in Residence is set to host the “Neighbours of the Sea” exhibition from June 5 to August 17, featuring the works of renowned Qatari artists Wafika Sultan al-Essa and Hassan al-Mulla.According to Qatar Museums (QM), this exhibition highlights how their artistic visions are deeply rooted in Qatar’s local environment and culture.Al-Essa and al-Mulla are celebrated as pioneers of fine art in Qatar. Despite their differing artistic styles and methods of expression, the exhibition presents a common thematic focus on the influence of the desert and the sea on Qatari life.The unique environment of Qatar, characterised by its desert landscape and proximity to the sea, has significantly shaped the country’s culture, lifestyle, urbanism, and heritage.QM noted that the more than 30 mixed-media paintings on display reflect this deep connection, many of which were created during the artists’ residency at the Fire Station Ruwad in Residence programme from 2021 to 2023.This programme, initiated in 2021, supports established Qatar-based artists, offering them studio space and opportunities to engage with the local community through public programmes such as talks and workshops. It ensures an ongoing exchange between established and emerging local artists participating in the Fire Station’s Artist in Residence programme.Al-Essa, a pioneering figure for female artists in Qatar, holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Applied Arts from Cairo University. She is a founding member of the Qatar Fine Arts Association and has held significant roles in Qatar TV’s production department. Her work has been exhibited internationally in Kuwait, London, Paris, and Tunis, and locally in prestigious venues including QM’s Gallery Alriwaq, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, and Al Markhiya gallery.Al-Mulla, also a prominent figure in Qatari art, has served multiple terms as president of the Qatar Society for Fine Arts. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Baghdad and has showcased his work in solo exhibitions in Qatar, India, and Saudi Arabia. His pieces are part of collections in various Qatari ministries, embassies, and museums, including Qatar Museums and Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art.QM noted that ‘Neighbours of the Sea’ encapsulates the artists’ profound connection to their environment, society, and heritage. The exhibition offers visitors a glimpse into Qatar’s rich heritage through the imaginative and introspective works of the two artists.

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