QAIC Shines Bright at Art All Night with Astrolabe Activation

Art All Night is an annual celebration of creativity, culture, and community, and this year’s event was nothing short of spectacular. On Saturday, September 30th, from 7:00PM — midnight, the District of Columbia came alive with art in all its forms. One of the standout participants was Qatar America Institute for Culture (QAIC), as we welcomed a whopping 900 visitors to our enchanting installation, Astrolabe. 

Art All Night spanned across all eight wards of the city, featuring an array of activations that showcased the richness of visual and performing arts. From painting to photography, sculpture to crafts, fashion to music, and literary arts to dance, theater, film, and poetry, there was something for everyone. The festival breathed life into both indoor and outdoor spaces, transforming local businesses and restaurants into hubs of artistic expression. 

One of the standout moments of QAIC’s participation in the evening was the mesmerizing live musical performance by Pan-Arab Egyptian singer, Ashraf Bashah. As the evening progressed, Ashraf’s soulful voice resonated throughout the space, singing in Arabic and captivating the hearts of all those present. His music was a bridge between cultures, effortlessly bringing Arabs and non-Arabs together. 

Under the spell of Ashraf’s melodies, attendees were drawn to the dance floor, where the joyous atmosphere became infectious. People from different backgrounds came together to learn and participate in traditional dances like the Dabke, a lively and spirited line dance popular in many Middle Eastern cultures. It was a beautiful sight to see, as the crowd swayed, stomped, and clapped in unison, creating a sense of unity and celebration. 

QAIC’s other contribution to Art All Night was Astrolabe, an interactive installation inspired by the ancient astronomical instrument known for its role in identifying stars, planets, keeping time, and aiding navigation. During the Islamic Golden Age, Muslim astronomers utilized the astrolabe to pinpoint the direction of Mecca and schedule prayer times. 

For Astrolabe, QAIC transformed on of our galleries into a mesmerizing desert oasis. Sand-colored backdrops and décor transported visitors to the heart of the desert. But that’s not all – visitors were invited to play an active role in making the sky come alive by placing glow-in-the-dark stars and planets on the walls, and were encouraged to write invisible messages on the walls (skies!) only visible by black light. It was as if you were under a starry night in the heart of the desert. This immersive experience allowed attendees to connect with the rich cultural heritage of the Middle East. 

QAIC’s Astrolabe installation was a huge hit, drawing in crowds and sparking conversations about art, culture, and history. The fusion of technology, tradition, and community engagement made it a standout attraction at Art All Night. 

Our Astrolabe installation will continue to shine brightly through the IMPART Summit and Design Festival, which runs from October 16th to 22nd. So, if you missed out on Art All Night, there’s still a chance to be part of this celestial journey. 

QAIC’s participation in Art All Night was a testament to the power of art in fostering cultural understanding and bringing communities together. Our Astrolabe installation not only illuminated the night but also lit up the hearts and minds of all those who experienced it.