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 will exhibit the leading visionary minds of Qatar whose creative works continue to inspire and promote the cultural richness of the region.

In celebration of these artists, their work, and the positive impact of creativity in the Gulf Region, on May 8, 2018, the premiere of Ruwad was hosted in Washington, DC. Several of the artists of the collection were in attendance, and the exhibition received much praise from guests and local artists.



Meet the Artists



About the artist

Emelina Soares is an Indian, born and raised in Qatar with Portuguese ancestry. She has completed her Undergraduate program in Painting and Printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University Qatar, and soon after completed her Masters in Arts in Museum and Gallery Practices at University College of London Qatar. She is currently enrolled in the Masters of Fine Arts program at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver, Canada. She was part of the Doha Fire Station Artists in Residence program in 2015-2016 and has exhibited her work at the Fire Station Garage Gallery, Katara Art Center, Kathmandu Trianiale, Qatar Berlin year of culture, AHVA Gallery University British Collumbia, and recently the The New York Times Art Leaders network Berlin.

About the art

These sand carpets are created with gathered sands of Qatar, dyed with Indian pigments in order to layer the materials source of origin. The motifs present within the piece come from Indian, Portuguese and Qatari carpets that together become a metaphor of her identity. She allows her audience to become part of the installation as a way to physically manifest their interactions with her. She believes that one’s identity is constantly in flux through the exchanges between cultures and knowledge which is what is revealed at the conclusion of the sand carpet.







About the artist

Graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, Ahmed Al Jufairi majored in Painting and Printmaking with a minor in Art History, he considers himself to be a contemporary Pop Artist. Ahmed infuses his sole inspiration- Beyoncé with his surrounding culture, including social issues and structures that have been set by previous generations. Ahmed believes in individualism, freedom of expression and the concept of reforming what exists into something new. The essence of his work revolves around the idea of Hope, where he believes hard work, devotion and love can create endless possibilities.

About the art

This collection is initially inspired by the idea of duality in reference to Beyoncé’s third-Solo album “I Am…” (Sasha Fierce). Ahmed appropriated the idea of creating an entirely new persona to further enhance one’s ability to convey a message of some sort with the help of themselves. The second, and main inspiration behind JAM is the song JAM by Michael Jackson, the lyrics in the song are very powerful and have had an important significance to the art pieces. In this work, it is about the idea of co-existing in all societies when it comes to equality between men and women. The idea of feminism in Qatar. Which is why Ahmed has chosen to have the figure in the performance video dressed in half Thobe (The Qatari Male attire) and half Abaya (The Qatari Female Attire), he pours complimentary colors on himself that further depicts the beauty of merging two into one and transforming what was separate into a prevailing new form and a new method of coinciding.






About the artist

Aisha Al-Ansari, an amateur photographer, having started in 2007. Aisha has exhibited her work in local and international galleries and often takes photos of family in Qatar’s most famous landmarks areas as well as landscapes that document the land of Qatar.

About the art

“Qatari Generations”

The work shows a number of men of varying age groups but one appearance and one singular look that embodies the unified vision of Qatari youth, in spite of age and generational differences.The project specifically looks at Aisha’s personal Family and the striking resemblance they all pose next to each other at differences stage of their life. change is something most Qatari families have gone through and will continue to go through as Qataris enter a stage where the city and society develops. The one thing that is constant is Family heritage and the similarities they may all have from the past.

“Qatari Family”

The work shows a group of people with different genders and generations, which represent the traditional Qatari family. They all in one appearance and one singular look that embodies the unified vision of Qatari Family, in spite of age, gender and generational differences.






About the artist

Fatima Mohammed is a contemporary Qatari artist, born in 1993, who works in mixed media, printmaking, sculpture and installation art. She also creates her own homemade inks from medicine that is meant to cure her back ailment. In 2016, Fatima graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University Qatar with a bachelor’s degree in Painting and Printmaking and a minor in Art History. Fatima is currently part of the Fire Station residence programs (2017-2018). Fatima’s work focuses on the social anatomy of the Arabian Gulf and how it is changing over time through the perspective of 3naj (Anaj), her fictional character’s world.

About the art

As a young Qatari living in a country that is experiencing changes, my work is focused on the social anatomy of the Arabian Gulf and how it is evolved over time. My art is portrayed through my fictional world of 3naj (Anaj), in the form of sculpture painting and performance. 3naj (Anaj), my partner and muse, is a product of the West. She is a half American bald eagle and half Arab. The female eagle that nurtures her young by providing shelter, food and independence and freedom of flight. 3naj displays her heritage proudly by wearing the batoola (face cover) as a protective golden beak. 3naj is wingless and fearless. Without wings, she cannot flee from conflicts. 3naj must stand her ground and speak her mind in an attempt to create positive change in her community.






About the artist

Hayfaa Abbas Al Khuzai is a Qatari artist who is a former art teacher with 20 years of experience at the Qatar’s ministry of education. She was awarded with a BFA in fine art education from Qatar University in 1989 and a General diploma in fine art from Besancon France in 1984. She is a member in Qatar Visual Art Center and received several rewards and certifications locally and internationally. Hayfaa participated in various art exhibitions in Qatar, Greece, Japan, Iran, Azerbaijan, and Italy.

About the art

“Colors of the Past”

We have been always mesmerized by Gulf Middle Eastern culture and admired its cultural uniqueness in woman’s wear; moreover, the artistic aspect reflected in their shapes, pattern, cuts with the bright colors and unique look that I loved to show in my paintings. Mostly these rich and colorful costumes speak of our folklore in celebrating special days like the wedding and Henna night. So, it is represented in a modern aspect showing beauty in our happy moments and part of our historical culture.






About the artist

Jameela Al Shraim was one of the first female Artists in Qatar. Her work mixes both Arab and Western themes, the influence of which is evident in the corpus of her works, which focus primarily on canvas painting but also include graphics as well as sculpture. Jameela is a columnist and art critic who evaluates Qatari artists in her column “Basaryat,” or “Visuals,” in Al Sharq newspaper. Jameela has exhibited multiple times in Qatar as well as internationally. Her artworks are also influenced by the poetry of Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed al Thani, the founder of Qatar. she merges characters and horses creating a world were visions and dreams are mixed. Jameela’s work focuses mainly on the figure of the Arabian horse and transforms it into elements of calligraphic and abstract shapes. Calligraphy, art history, even the artist’s feelings, melt all in great harmony, creating unprecedented artistic expressions. She celebrates the magnificence of this animal, but especially the speed, agility and absolute beauty.

About the art

“My Philosophy”

My works are about the artistic interpretation of the Arabian horses as formative element due to its unique Esthetics, several significances and symbolic legendary connected with our Arabic civilization and eastern culture.

Being the abstractive and expressive technique is the closest to the movement of any spiritual, subjective and imaginary of any work marked by the sobriety, originality, and look beyond the fact through harmony between mind and imagination to present a visual dispatch for Al Shaqab Qatari horses to express my personal essential vision toward the current world events around me, my concern is to sail through a vision marked by new intellectual trends with and sincere feeling witch reflects my experiences of photography, print and sculpture arts.

Talking about common traits shared by horses and human like challenge, glory and beauty inspired me to try to convert the characters to horses within a virtual world where fantasies and dreams are mixed, float through it on the portrait’s surface and add triangle shape which connected with the heritage of Qatar of Sadu ornament carries also the meaning of a three dimensions with many semantics like stability, power, hope, coherence and determination in the life successfully for great and glorious cases to the world of goodness, truth and beauty, into human aspects to present art as same as science’s rank when the idea arise through its application on the ground of reality to express my commitment and pride of my country which goes towards his bright future vision. The horses with its glory and originality had assumed the mission of spreading international peace and positive tweet with contemporary and modern visual language to be a source of inspiration, and creation where horses stand in highness to boast of originality, tales of inherited poetry from a dreamy life in the desert’s edges which inhabited with the shiny sun and moon light where lines, geometric shapes are intersecting in harmony and play colorful and universal based on the artistic technical of shaping the image based on our understanding which is the need to continue to keep searching for a new language in which engineering, art and beauty are connected.






About the artist

Khalid Ahmed Al Hammadi is an innovative and creative non-profit entrepreneur fostering leadership, cross-cultural dialogue and community engagement with students and youth in the UK and Qatar through community programs, art exhibitions and more. He is also a creative often exploring notions of identity and its relationship with the landscape through mixed media outcomes such as sound, film and photography.

About the art

“The Construction of Deconstructing Identity”

The fast pace of development of identity of the Qatari locals socially, religiously and traditionally has transitioned in various ways, due to the rapid shift of the landscape within Qatar. The landscape has been an instrument of cultural force, a central tool in the creation of national and social identities. The images I present reflect my personal interrelationship with the landscape that has grown up with me, I also question the way in which identity has shifted and the consequences of such changes where tradition and culture are colliding and in constant flux with its surroundings. I suggest there is more to what the frame shows through placing myself within the frame looking into the distance. The thobe within my imagery, explores the way in which the thobe is the one constant in the country that can be seen as a form of resistance to the Western interference of our country. The project encapsulates critical discussions on representation of identity and the ever-present transformation of the land that has an influence on identity and culture. The project is still an ongoing exploration and new photos are continuously being added to the collection.






About the artists

Abdulaziz Ahmed is a cartoonist in Alraya newspaper in Qatar. He started his artistic journey on social media platforms. His work has been shown in local and international exhibitions. He collaborated with various ministries and centers on various artistic projects. In 2014, he received Promax Bronze award for his work on designing Jeem Cup marketing campaign. And in 2017, he curated Le Blockade exhibition in collaboration with DFI. In addition, Abdulaziz has directed various short animation films.

Latifa is an independent award winning filmmaker. The films she has been making vary between documentaries and animation. Her work was screened in international film festivals and exhibitions in London and around the world. Her grandmother’s stories and memories inspire her to make films.

About the art

“Mother’s Day”

The conceptual goal of this project is to celebrate Qatari heritage using contemporary visual representations. The elements of what makes a Qatari has evolved over time but remains the same in essence due to cultural attachments. Celebrated every gift the people have been granted, A Love statement is a traditional story that is colourful, happy, and contemporary reflecting Qatar and its people gratitude. In collaboration with Latifa Al Dariwsh, an accompanying video was created called “For a Mothers Love”, a testament to a mother’s love as it depicts scenes of memories, love and home.






About the artist

I’m a Qatari artist who has an academic and professional background in petroleum engineering, however my passion lies in contemporary art. All my experiences in fine art are a personal undertaking, and self-taught. I’m a member in Qatar Fine Arts Association where I participated in many local and international exhibitions.

About the art

Through my paintings, I strive to embed hidden stories and meaning, which I love to share and convey to people. At its core my artworks convey a sense of freedom in general – women’s freedom, their ambitions, time and patience. That combined with heritage, social issues, and personal experiences are what drive me.





Ruwad: The Premiere


The opening reception for Ruwad included many prominent Washingtonians, such as curators from top museums, well-known local and foreign artists, restauranteurs, former diplomats, and VIPs highly influential in the arts 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 and Chairman of the Board of Directors for QAI, Mr. Chase Untermeyer. Mr. Untermeyer noted that a “core component of QAI’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.”


 The opening premiere of Ruwad in Washington, DC. 


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.”


Time-lapse of artist Emelina Soares creating her sand carpet.






Photos from the Ruwad Reception.










Ruwad: The Gallery


Following the opening reception, Ruwad was made open to the public in a pop-up gallery located in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, DC. This one-week installation attracted numerous passersby who had never before seen or engaged with Qatari art.







Coverage of the Ruwad Social Finale








Ruwad is a production in partnership with