A utopia is an imagined community or society that possesses highly desirable or nearly perfect qualities for its citizens.
The recently-concluded five-day-long Qatar International Art Festival (QIAF) was a kind of event that created a short-lived utopia for the artists that came from all corners of the world. In the words of an Iranian artist, “the artists had one language that is art and one message that is love.”
A dazzling closing ceremony was recently held at the drama theatre of Building 16 in Katara where awards and certificates that given away to the participating artists. There were 200 artists who came from over 60 countries. The ceremony was attended by ambassadors of different countries in Qatar and art lovers in large numbers.
Different artists from various countries expressed their excitement for being a part of the second edition of the international art festival that is considered one of the largest art events in Qatar.
MAPS International, a Doha-based art company, in collaboration with Katara Cultural Village brought the event that offered a range of activities for both the participating artists and the visiting art enthusiasts.
On its opening day – November 1 – the festival witnessed over 1,000 people attended the launching ceremony. Dr Khalid bin Ibrahim al-Sulaiti, General Manager at Katara, formally inaugurated the festival. The opening ceremony was also attended by the ambassadors of Turkey, Iran, Mexico, Argentina, Australia, Ethiopia, and Ecuador in Qatar.
The festival kicked off with the exhibition of paintings, art works, sculptures, handicrafts brought in by the artists. The guests and visitors appreciated and enjoyed the artistic and creative talents that came together from different parts of the world. There were more than 400 artistic pieces at display in the exhibition that includes the works of as many as 90 artists coming from different countries to Qatar, most of them for the first in the country. Among the 110 Qatar-based artists, 25 were Qatari nationals.
On the second day of the festival, the living painting show was held. In the evening of the same day, there were master classes conducted by eminent artists for other participants and the visitors explaining different techniques and genres of the paining.
The most significant event of the day was a film about the works and achievements of late M F Hussain, a world-known artist. The film is produced by his son Mustafa Hussain, who was present on the occasion. Soon after the master classes, there were panel discussions on different topics related to various fields of the art.
On third day, in the morning, the festival participants took part in the live painting. However, the evening was made beautiful with an art fashion show named as MAPS Artistic Fashion Show. The fashion show, first time in Qatar, saw 50 models highlighting different art designs on their costumes. The show also included art designs depicted on different wearable items. It actually opened up a new avenue for the artists to show their skills. The show had three different parts. The first part was fashion wearable items. The second one was interior and home décor. The third part was exhibition of artistic designs pasted on different utensils and other usable items.
On the fourth and final day, the artists continued their live paining show. Later in the day, after the live paintings were completed, the works were put on display in the exhibition.
In the evening, all the visiting and the Qatar-based artists attended the closing ceremony that continued for over three hours. All the participant-artists and members of the organising team were awarded with medals and certificates.
Speaking on the occasion, Rashmi Agarwal, founder and president of MAPS, thanked all the artists and Katara for making the festival a success. “It feels very good if you give food to hungry people. It feels even better if you help someone fulfill his or her dreams. It is a real blessing from the Almighty.”
She added: “Passion and lover for art cannot be defined by a degree in arts or in commerce. It is an immortal thing inside everyone. You need to nourish the seeds with passion, devotion and ceaseless efforts. QIAF is an event in this regard that that connects artists worldwide. We had live paintings, group exhibition, cultural tour, art fashion show and award ceremony.”
The organiser further said: “This year we introduced a unique feather in the festival – the art fashion show. Art is not related to the canvass only. It has different surfaces. The fashion show has three ‘Fs’ – fancy, fashion and fantasy.
“My dream towards QIAF is very simple. I want to bring different artists together. It is not easy. I have to face many problems. I however believe that a wish changes nothing but a decision changes everything.”
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