From the moment the Qatari Art Delegation arrived in Washington, D.C. on October 16, it was evident that a week of creativity, innovation, and cultural exchange was about to unfold. The 2023 IMPART Summit: Congress for Creatives & Design Festival, hosted by the Qatar America Institute for Culture (QAIC), offered a unique opportunity for artists, creatives, and innovators to come together and explore the intersection of art and technology. Here’s a glimpse into the highlights of this captivating week.
The week commenced with a warm welcome at Immigrant Food, where the Qatari Art Delegation and special guest Dr. Dania Thafer gathered for a welcome dinner. The evening was marked by meaningful conversations and the exchange of ideas.
The heart of the week’s festivities began to beat on Wednesday with the IMPART Artists Talk. Hamad al Mohammed of H Jewelry and Ghanim Al Ghanim, the director of AlHosh Gallery, both members of the art delegation, introduced themselves and their work to the audience. Then, QAIC Executive Director Fatima Al Dosari set the stage for the main event of the evening. The stage belonged to the 2023 IMPART Artist Grant Winners: Farjana Salahuddin, Salma Hassaan, and Randa Malkawi. They engaged in a fascinating conversation about their art installations and their relationship to the intersection of art and technology. Their innovative works pushed the boundaries of artistic expression, captivating the audience with immersive experiences.
Thursday was dedicated to exploring the future of museums in a rapidly evolving technological landscape. The “We Are Museums” workshop, titled “Creativity Unleashed,” delved into what museums might look like as technology continues to shape and redefine the art world. Students, delegates, and members of the DC art community engaged in this opportunity to discuss what lies on the horizon.
The week was not all serious discussions and artistic exploration. On Friday, a lively Auction and Benefit Party took center stage. Guests enjoyed delectable mocktails and small bites as they perused the items available for bidding in the silent auction. The evening was enriched by the musical styles of Nas Jota. The highlight of the night was a poignant speech by the Executive Director of UNRWA USA, Mara Kronenfeld, serving as a reminder of the importance of advocating for Palestinians.
The weekend continued to be a hub of engaging activities. QAIC hosted discussions, including one between Qatari Art Delegate Mohammed Al Matwi and US-Qatar Business Council’s Mohammed Barakat, addressing creative entrepreneurship in a global context.
On Sunday, the event opened its doors to the public with a Middle Eastern coffee tasting, providing a sensory experience that transported attendees to the heart of Arab coffee culture. Roasters representing the coffee preferences of Saudis, Yemenis, and Turks, all had the opportunity to introduce the QAIC community to the coffee culture of our colleagues and friends oversees.
During the weekend, participants also had the opportunity to explore the world of olfactory art and fragrance creativity at the Perfumery Symposium. Hosted by QAIC’s partner, the Institute for Art and Olfaction (IAO), members of the 2023 Olfactory Delegation to Doha invited attendees to explore the cultural significance of fragrance through talks and interactive workshops. Panels such as “Journeys to Qatar” reflect on the delegation’s experiences, while the “Ineffable Oud” session delves into the historical and spiritual aspects of aromatics. Saskia Wilson-Brown’s “Five Smells that Shaped Us” talk uncovers the history of perfumery and its ties to human expression. Workshops include “The Scents of the Qur’anic Garden,” “Traditional Arabic Calligraphy,” and “Tincturing for Artists,” offering a hands-on exploration of fragrance and art. The symposium represented all the best parts of QAIC’s mission to bridge communities through culture.
The 2023 IMPART Summit: Congress for Creatives & Design Festival was a testament to the power of art and technology to bridge cultural divides, inspire innovation, and spark meaningful conversations. It demonstrated the importance of fostering connections and understanding between Qatar and the United States. As the event drew to a close, the echoes of creative discourse and cultural exchange continued to reverberate, leaving a lasting impact on all those who participated in this dynamic and enriching week.