The 2023 IMPART Artists Grant Exhibition features new work by the three selected winners of the annual grant program. Connecting creatives and artist empowerment are central tenets of QAIC’s philosophy. The IMPART Artist Grant program provides a cash prize to emerging and mid-career artists to support the creation of a new body of work.
Salma Hassaan (California), Randa F. Malkawi (Virginia), and Farjana Salahuddin (Doha, Qatar) each responded to the open call for work that explores the intersection between technology and the arts. Through different mediums, including digital drawings, sculpture, and projections, the artists pay tribute to historic scientific discoveries, contemplate the loss of craftsmanship, and experiment with new, interactive elements.
Their work reflects connections that each artist has – the Golden Age of Islam or traditional Palestinian handcrafts – while inviting viewers to contemplate how we interact with the world today. Salma, Randa, and Farjana illustrate the diverse ways technology has changed how art is created and shared.
Randa F. Malkawi
“I can’t use my hands – like my Grandmother once did”
Mixed media: print and embroidery
The project, titled ‘I can’t Use My Hands – Like my Grandmother Once Did’ is a poignant and romantic exploration of the loss of craftsmanship in our generation. As technologies continue to evolve and create things for us (Think: Chatgpt, Midjourney, etc…), we are losing touch with the trades and crafts that our grandmothers once used their hands to do. From picking olives and feeding us, to stitching the thawb (traditional Levantine garments), our grandmothers’ hands were a symbol of love and care that we all cherish.
The artwork highlights the beauty and power of our grandmother’s hands, and the craftsmanship of tatreez motifs and patterns that speak to our collective history as Arabs. The combination of mediums highlights the push and pull between the ease of technology and the innovative and centuries old practice of tatreez.
‘I Can’t Use My Hands – Like My Grandmother Once Did’ is a love story between the past and the present, the old and the new, and a celebration of the beauty that can arise when we blend the two.
Randa M. is a multifaceted artist and architectural designer whose work celebrates cultural heritage and evokes a sense of empowerment. She spent her childhood moving between urban centers in the MENA region and North America and draws inspiration from her Arab roots by weaving elements of traditional art forms, architectural motifs and cultural symbolism. Trained in architecture and environmental design, Randa M. holds degrees from the University of Toronto and Virginia Tech. She contributed to various research and design projects in North America and internationally, and currently works at Gensler’s D.C. offices, where she makes contributions in the urban design and mixed use practice areas.
Sculpture & digital media
“Rooted Connection” is an immersive experience that weaves a narrative of our deep relationship with nature. Inspired by Salma’s journey across three different continents, where palm trees have been a constant companion, this interactive environment takes viewers on a visual exploration of the innate bond between humans and nature. The projection mapping breathes life into the sculptures through the interplay of color and movement. Light and shadow gracefully dance in perfect harmony, inviting you to ponder the timeless connection that binds us to the botanical realm. “Rooted Connection” explores the intricate rhythms and patterns that unite us with the beauty and complexity of the natural environment.
Salma Hassaan is an interdisciplinary designer and artist (b. Cairo, Egypt) based in Los Angeles, California. She holds a BFA in Painting & Printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Salma’s research and art delve into the realm of art installations and ephemeral art, with a dedicated focus on exploring the intricate connection between humans and nature through transformative spatial experiences.
Salma’s artwork has been showcased at venues such as the Dawayer Festival in Siwa Oasis, Egypt, NYC x Design Week in New York, and the Katara Art Center in Doha, Qatar. Her talent has been recognized with prestigious design awards, including the iF Design Awards and European Product Design Awards.
“Salam: The Light Within”
Mixed media: painting on glass & interactive digital media
“Salam: The Light Within” is an experimental glass sculpture inspired by geometric Islamic patterns, the science of light & optics, and the greeting from the Islamic World – Salam, meaning ‘peace’ in Arabic as the heart of the piece and a message of tranquility.
The experience greets the audience with an audiovisual and sensory immersion, using light and real-time dynamic visuals, casted on a hand-painted glass sculpture. The sculpture is embellished with geometric Islamic patterns, thereby highlighting how basic geometric shapes were transformed and tessellated in different angles creating awe-inspiring art throughout the ages in the Islamic World and beyond.
The piece is not only a sensory experience, but a tribute to the discoveries of optics by Ibn Al-Haytham (known as the “Father of Modern Optics”) and the Golden Age of Islam, raising awareness, celebrating & creating a bridge into its rich history and scientific advancements. As you touch and feel the interactive miniature pieces, you can explore how light moves through various medium and transparencies, and how it can be bent or reflected in different angles to create a mesmerizing symphony.
Farjana Salahuddin is an interactive and new media artist, specializing in transforming spaces and objects to interactive and immersive experiences. Her passion in fusion of technology, design and art, has led her to create avant-garde experiential productions at the intersection of technology and art. Her productions center around a novel way of reciprocity between the audience and the space/object, whereby the audience engages their various senses to experience the piece. Her recent showcases include Pearl – A Journey of Secrets, an experiential fashion piece inspired by the Valentino, and currently in exhibition at M7 in Doha; in addition to multiple experiences at Fereej Al Najada – a heritage site by Qatar Museums, where her work involved combining all human senses, including touch, sight, and hearing in a beautiful composition to experience the transformed spaces.
Through collaborations with artists from multiple disciplines like fashion, calligraphy and sculptures, her work has spanned over a wide range of themes and mediums. She holds a Master’s in Interactive Digital Media from Trinity College Dublin, and a Bachelor’s in Information Systems from Carnegie Mellon University.