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Expressions Art & Culture Talk Series Recap

QAIC’s Expressions Artist Talk series features a variety of American personalities, artists, and creatives who have lived or worked in Qatar and whose works were inspired and influenced by Qatari culture.

An art and culture talk, Expressions aims to highlight the intersections and cultural connections that tie the American and Qatari people through storytelling. American creatives and cultural experts are invited to speak about their unique endeavors and artistic work, showcasing how they were inspired by Qatar as a country, culture, or society.

Whether in filmmaking, literature, fashion design, or music, speakers will delve into presentations and conversations that express their artistic journey and experience in Qatar.

The Expression Artist Talks Series is a recurring public creative dialogue. The guest speakers share their own experiences and reflections, followed by questions and answers from the audience.

Expressions Chicago

In June 2019, QAIC hosted a lecture, “The Contemporary Architecture of Qatar” with noted author and architectural critic, Philip Jodidio. The talk was held in Chicago, representing QAIC’s first engagement with a major Midwestern city and cultural hub in the US.

The lecture was moderated by former Senior Associate Dean of Northwestern University in Qatar, Richard J. Roth. After a presentation by Jodidio, a dialogue on contemporary architecture and urban development in Doha, Qatar.

The event gathered Chicago area architects, engineers, business leaders and students for an overview by Mr. Jodidio that included discussion of Qatar’s state-of-the-art museums and internationally acclaimed original architecture including the I.M. Pei-designed Museum of Islamic Art; the Qatar National Library; Msheireb Downtown Doha with significant design and sustainability innovations by Chicago-based architects and engineers.

Expressions Artist Talk: Philip Jodidio – Contemporary Architecture in Qatar

Expressions Houston

In February 2020, QAIC hosted a lecture, “The Arabian Horse: Lore & Legend” with Houstonian and renowned Arabian breeder, Michael Byatt, at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

Byatt, of Michael Byatt Arabians, is an internationally known Arabian horse breeder and rider who helped develop the Arabians at Qatar’s Al Shaqab Equestrian Center, which has influenced breeding worldwide. Established in 1992, Al Shaqab has bred seven World Champion stallions, who have flown regularly between Qatar, Europe, and the United States, living for many years.

The program was moderated by Diana Untermeyer, author of “Qatar: Sand, Sea, and Sky.”

 Expressions Artist Talk: Michael Byatt – The Arabian Horse: Lore & Legend

Expressions in Washington, D.C.

In February 2020, QAIC hosted “Fostering Multiculturalism in Film: Reflections & Lessons as a Film Professor in the Arab World,” featuring renowned filmmaker and Northwestern University professor Marco Williams at its Washington, DC office.

Most recently, Professor Williams completed a film called “The Undocumented” – a PBS broadcast/ Independent Lense featured documentary.

In 2007, Williams directed and produced “Banished,” a movie that documents African-American descendants’ experiences as they return to the former homes that earlier generations of their families were once evicted from.

The program was moderated by Georgetown professor Michael Dyson, who serves as a regular commentator on National Public Radio, MSNBC, and CNN. Professor Williams discussed his teaching experience while at Northwestern University’s Qatar campus.

As part of his discussion, Williams exhibited his students’ short series Naseeb. Naseeb examines the plight of a young woman as she pursues her dream of becoming an architect against the wishes of her mother, who instead wants her to be married. The screening of the series served as a jumping-off point for the two academics as they discussed how the students’ creation served as a reflection of the complexity within various parts of Arabian Gulf society and, in general, the greater Muslim world.

Other aspects of the discussion centered around issues of patriarchy within both the West and the East; how one can teach without allowing Western bias to seep into the classroom; and how to best discuss sensitive issues through the usage of Film as a medium.

Expressions Artist Talk: Marco Williams – Fostering Multiculturalism in Film

The second issue of A2Q (America to Qatar), QAIC’s digital magazine, is now available. Read our second issue here!