FOCI: A Photographic Journey is the Qatar America Institute for Culture’s annual photography program that utilizes the creative lens to highlight and capture cultural narratives from the United States and the Arab and Islamic worlds.
At the end of each FOCI program, the created works by the program’s participants are then exhibited at QAIC’s DC space to tell the story of cultural exchange through the eyes of a creative.
Why “FOCI?” Foci (foh-kai) is the plural of the Latin word “focus” which means the “center of interest or activity.” It is with the use of a camera lens that selected participants will capture the essence of their subject, but it is with their ability that they will creatively depict the unique annual theme, or focus, of the program to be exhibited alongside a diverse selection of photographs.
The 2019 FOCI Program was Qatar America Institute for Culture’s inaugural photography competition that aimed at highlighting and championing the U.S.-Qatar relationship and cultural ties through the lens of creative photography. The 2019 FOCI Program called on photographers to enter their interpretation of the U.S.-Qatar four-decade-long partnership in an artistic and storytelling form.
The first-place winner of the 2019 FOCI Photography Program was the submission “Red, White, and Blue” by Oscar Rialubin, followed by the second-place winning submission “He Eats Alone – Not” by Noman Quadri. Both Oscar and Noman were able to travel to Washington, DC to celebrate the culmination of the first ever FOCI Program with a public evening reception attended by members of DC’s art scene and two of FOCI’s judges, Zach Houghton and Shuran Huang.