Journalist ◆ Filmmaker ◆ Academic | IBQ Artist Series at the Pearl-Qatar | Journalist ◆ Filmmaker ◆ Academic

ABODE Magazine, Articles, Qatar-based magazines


By Christina Maria Paschyn

Published in the January 2012 issue of ABODE magazine. Unedited version appears below. Download a PDF of the published version.

Last month IBQ launched the second edition of its annual Artist Series, an exhibition to showcase and support artists living and working in Qatar. The exhibition, which ran from November 29 – December 3 at The Pearl-Qatar, featured four artists: Moudhi Al Hajri and Wadha Al Sulaiti from Qatar, Ismail Azzam from Iraq and Waseem Al Marzouki from Syria. Working in a variety of mediums, from textiles and painting to photography and film, their art exemplified the theme of parallel worlds.

“We always say ‘[the artist] lives in his own world.’ Well, OK, but what does that mean?” explained curator Layla Ibrahim Bacha. “So it’s just kind of a way to discover it more, to go through it and understand how artists are thinking in their world, and how do they see our world from their world. It’s parallel.”

“They were picked for this subject because all of these artists represent their own world very specifically,” Bacha said. “The good thing about it is that everyone can find something they like or they can find a representation of himself in the exhibition, because there are four different ways of thinking in this exhibition.”

Moudhi Al Hajri
From: Qatar
Medium: Photography

Q: What parallel world are you exploring in your art?
A: Because I studied science [biology], my vision is the microscopic world, things that others don’t see. I [create this different world] by collecting materials and shining light on them to get all these wonderful colors and shapes. But it’s only to document this very beautiful and colorful moment for my photography.”

Ismail Azzam
From: Iraq
Medium: Painting

Q: Why paint the porters in Souq Waqif?
A: “My world is the world of details; I like to look for those forgotten people, those that are not in the scene, not in the front; they are always behind, but they are very important to their environment. For example in Souq Waqif, everyone knows these colorful places but nobody knows those porters who, without them, the souq would never be a souq.”

Wadha Al Sulaiti
From: Qatar
Medium: Textiles, silkscreen printing and calligraphy

Q: What message are you trying to convey through your art?
A: I have always been inspired by embroidery and all symbols used on traditional Qatari women [clothing], and I try to add all these into my paintings. There is no direct message here. I want to develop all these embroideries and shapes in traditional Qatari women to be modernized and to fit our time.

Waseem Al Marzouki
From: Syria
Medium: Painting and film animation

Q: What was your artistic process?
A: “[My partner and I] wrote a short story, worked on it as a short animation film, made the storyboard, characters, environment and background, and everything. This exhibition [at the Pearl] shows the processing of these characters. It was inspired by Gulf mythology and little bit of Indian mythology, because it is very near to this culture. That’s why I used Indian music [when I was painting] because it’s psychedelic.”

The IBQ Artist Series, the first of its kind in Qatar, represents a symbolic partnership between finance and the arts. The initiative is part of the bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme to promote education and cultural awareness in the country, particularly among youth.

“We’re very proud to see our home-grown initiative in its second successful edition,” said George Nasra, managing director of IBQ. “We, at IBQ, are committed to supporting the Qatari and Arab artists living and working in Qatar and bring them to a wider community and firmly believe that the IBQ Artist Series is a perfect launch pad for artists seeking further recognition. It is a model for development of the existing talent in the country. This initiative aims at raising awareness of the arts, educational and cultural potential of the country.”

All artwork featured in the exhibition is available for purchase; please contact the artists directly via email.

IBQ is also the sponsor of the Friends of the American School of Doha Chamber Music Series, which brings together global classical artists and existing talent in Qatar. For more information about IBQ’s community programs, visit

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