On May 8, 2018, the Qatar America Institute for Culture, in partnership with Reconnecting Arts, hosted the premiere for the exhibition “Ruwad: the pioneering contemporary arts of Qatar” in downtown Washington, DC.
Ruwad, “pioneers” in Arabic, is a collection of both established and up-and-coming Qatar-based artists that are transforming the artistic landscape in the region. From painting to photography to installation pieces, Ruwad presents the leading visionary minds of Qatar whose creative works continue to inspire and promote the cultural richness of the region.
The opening reception for Ruwad included many prominent Washingtonians, such as curators from top museums, well-known local and foreign artists, and VIPs highly influential in the art scene. The premiere was a festive event complete with the full art exhibition on display, live traditional Middle Eastern music, and remarks provided by former U.S. Ambassador to Qatar, Mr. Chase Untermeyer. Mr. Untermeyer noted that a “core component of QAIC’s mission is to promote a platform for cultural exchange between the U.S. and Qatar. We celebrate these artists not only as pioneers in the arts but also as pioneers in the growing bond between both nations.”
Qatar-based artist Emelina Soares, an artist of Indian descent who was born and raised in Doha, treated guests to a live demonstration of her sand carpet work which bridges both of her identities in a vividly colorful fashion. “Art as a medium intrinsically connects people,” Soares remarked, “Representing the works of a diverse group of artists from Qatar demystifies many notions about the Middle East and Muslims in general.” Also present at the event were three other artists whose work is part of the Ruwad collection, some visiting the United States from Qatar for the first time. These artists were Jameela Al Shraim, a former art teacher turned painter and sculptor, Hayfaa Al Khuzai, a former art teacher whose paintings are reflective of Qatari heritage, and Khalid Al Hammadi, a Qatari photographer whose images capture the changing identity of Qataris living in Qatar. “This opportunity to facilitate cross-cultural dialogue is much needed in this current climate,” Al Hammadi noted, “I am honored to be part of this exhibition, both through Reconnecting Arts as a partner as well as a Qatari artist.”