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Culture

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Laundromat an Exhibition by Ai Weiwei :: 15th March – 1st June 2018

The Fire Station Gallery offer regular exhibitions by top artists and organisation. And they are free to visit.

Laundromat is an installation that addresses the recent refugee crisis. It focuses on the refugee camp at Idomeni on the border of Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Don’t miss an opportunity to visit this exhibition, by one of the great artists of our time.

Last night I attended a very interesting lecture hosted for Honorary Cultural Ambassadors, on the subject of Intercultural Communications in Qatar. Our lecturer Dr. Irene Theodoropoulou from Qatar University was absolutely brilliant at discussing  the subject utilising many examples, experiences and much humour.

I have been in Qatar for nearly nine years now. And consider myself pretty knowledgeable on Intercultural Communications having spent a great deal of time living and working with cultures from all over the world. Yet she was still able to expand on and clarify the knowledge I have self acquired.

Inspired by her lecture, I am going to make sure that Qatar Quick will have a section on Intercultural Communications very soon. To help you interact with not only locals but also the expats working here from all over the globe.

Doha Fire Station Art Gallery
The lecture was presented in the Fire Station Art Gallery

One of Qatar Quicks top tips while visiting Qatar, is to buy a copy of The Entertainer

Qatar Quick do not earn commission, or make any money from persuading you to buy a copy of the Entertainer. we are simply recommending it because it makes sense.

Qatar Quick Recommended

What is it?

It’s a book or an App containing 2 for 1 vouchers on lots of things you like to do.  Their website states; “Whether you want to dine out for a special occasion, relax in a Moroccan bath or spend time with your family, there is something for everyone in Qatar 2018!”. The vouchers are valid for the calendar year they are purchased in.

How much does it cost?

Full list price is QR 375, but a lot of the time there are offers bringing that down by around QR 100 to QR 275.

Why Should I buy one?

If you traveling alone, then there is absolutely no point in buying a copy of the Entertainer. But if there are two or more of you, you will be able to make the purchase price of the Entertainer back in as little as one transaction. A good Brunch in a top hotel will cost anywhere between QR 200 and QR 350. Use a 2 for 1 voucher and the book/App is paid for.

Once you have recovered the purchase price, you are saving money every time you use a voucher. Even if you are only in Qatar for just a week you should easily get your money back and make some great savings.

Tip

Using vouchers on fast food and hotel buffets is going to give you the best return. Along with beach/leisure passes. We have found that à la carte 2 for 1 doesn’t normally represent a big saving. If you are in a restaurant you will normally use a ‘Buy 1 Get One Free Main Course’. The saving of one main menu item when the bill comes for starter, main, dessert and drinks only makes a small difference. But hey it’s worth having.

Where can I buy a copy?

You can buy online here, or a copy can be purchased in most large supermarkets and book stores.

 

 

Last Saturday there was a trip to the Al Zubarah Archaeological Site in the north of Qatar, for Honorary Cultural Ambassadors. And on this occasion some of us took family with us as well. So Vic came along for the ride and an excellent guided tour of the site too.  A once thriving trading post for Qatar, Al Zubarah was home for between 5,000 and 9,000 residents at it’s peak.

Al Zubarah

Because I am lazy, I am just going to copy paste an extract from the Qatar Museums website

A WORLD HERITAGE SITE

Once a thriving port bustling with fishermen and merchants, the town of Al Zubarah was designated a protected area in 2009. Since then, Qatar Museums has led teams of archaeologists and scientists to investigate the site. Through their research and engagement with local communities, they are documenting and shedding light on the rise and fall of this unique area.

In 2013 the World Heritage Committee inscribed Al Zubarah Archaeological Site into the UNESCO World Heritage List. The site includes three major features, the largest of which are the archaeological remains of the town, dating back to the 1760s. Connected to it is the settlement of Qal’at Murair, which was fortified to protect the city’s inland wells. Al Zubarah Fort was built in 1938 and is the youngest, most prominent feature at the site.

 

Al Zubarah
A photo of Vic posing in front of Al Zubarah Fort I took back in 2012

If time allows, any visitor to Qatar should take a drive up north to experience Al Zubarah. It took me around 1 hour 30 minuets to comfortably drive the distance including a refreshment break.

Al Zubarah

 

Last night was the second training session for becoming an Honorary Cultural Ambassador for Qatar Museums. This time we covered Mathaf, Archaeological sites in Qatar, art in public spaces and HCA Communication skills. Once again a very interesting evening with excellent presentations from extremely knowledgeable people who really know their subjects.

Honorary Cultural Ambassadors Training Day 2

We have also been put into groups for our final assessment which will be sometime in January next year. This is when it will be our turn to make the presentations and prove we have been paying attention during the training sessions and visits.

Honorary Cultural Ambassadors Training Day 2

Honorary Cultural Ambassadors Training Day 2

This morning I was on a group visit as part of the Honorary Cultural Ambassadors program, to the “Driven by German Design” exhibition in Qatar Museums Gallery Al Riwaq.

Al Riwaq Gallery is next to the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA). I have driven past it so many times, seen loads of interesting things being advertised as being held inside, yet never bothered to park and pop in. Would I have gone to the “Driven by German Design” exhibition being held there at the moment, if it were not for it being part of my Honorary Cultural Ambassador training? Nope. I would have carried on driving past it until it ended on 14th January 2018. And that would have been my loss, because now I have been, I can tell you I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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Of course when you think of German design, like me you probably think of cars first, and there were plenty of them in the exhibition.

But as well as automotive there was plenty of other exhibits, such as technology. Just look at these old Apple’s.

 

Too much to describe here. Just pop along and take a look for yourself. And take family and friends with you, they will enjoy it too.

I arrived at Al Riwaq Gallery early, so I went for a quick walk around the MIA Park. At this time of year this is a wonderful place to spend time.

I can’t remember the last time I went to an art gallery, but I think it was a school trip a German Encounters Exhibitionlong, long time ago. I had mixed feelings about attending this German Encounters exhibition because I’m not much of an artie, and I wasn’t sure if I would find a German exhibition particularly interesting. However after just 45 minuets of walking around the exhibits I was a total convert. A lot of the abstract paintings didn’t float my boat because well it’s just not my thing. But the photography was really, really outstanding and inspiring.

I enjoyed this guided tour as a part of the Honorary Cultural Ambassador training program so much, that I will be returning to the Fire Station independently next Thursday for the once a year Open Studio Night.

Open Studio Night at The Fire Station

There are 20 studios containing 20 different artists of varying types within the Fire Station. And on just one night a year they have an open evening where you can visit the artists in their studios to see what they are up to and have a chat with them.

Just being in the Fire Station itself, without even seeing an exhibition is a lovely way to spend time. It’s a peaceful place with much to see. If you like taking photo’s this is a fabulous place for you to get some quality snaps.

All the images posted in this article were taken on my Galaxy S7 Edge. I will need to go back with my Sony a7 to get some better photos in and around the Fire Station soon.

Yesterday evening was the first training session for the newly appointed Honorary Cultural Ambassadors, which I was lucky enough to have been selected for. Training took place in the cinema of the Fire Station Art Gallery and lasted for 3 hours.

There were four presentations covering the Museum of Islamic Art, the soon to open Qatar National Museum, the Fire Station and lastly the Olympic and Sports Museum due to open in 2019.

There was a lot to take in, and I started taking notes too late. But here are a couple of things I didn’t know and found interesting.

  • The architect of the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) insisted that the building should be where it is, because he didn’t want it in a location where there was any risk of any new development ever overshadowing this amazing building. And because water has a calming effect for museums, galleries and such like.
  • The Qatar National Museum will open in 2018.
  • The Fire Station Artist in Residence Program had over 170 applicants this year. But the judges panel of 5 experts had to select only 20 artists. Each successful artist was given one of the 20 studios located in the Fire Station, financial assistance for materials and also mentoring. Old unused school buildings around Qatar are to be converted into studios to allow more artists to expand and develop their skills.
  • The Olympic and Sports Museum is under development at The new Khalifa International Stadium located in Aspire, and will open in 2019.

Honestly there was a lot of information, and I hope to be able to tell you more about each of the 4 museums in the coming weeks as I get more hands on with them. Starting with the Fire Station, which we are visiting tomorrow to have a tour of the current exhibition showing there.

The first training session for Honorary Cultural Ambassadors held at the Fire Station Art Galary