My Father’s House opening ceremony

Published February 24th, 2010 - 02:28 GMT

Doha, February 23rd, 2010: My Father’s House, a unique, photography and film exhibition has opened its doors in Qatar, inviting people of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy a stunning collection of work by internationally awarded artists. After a year long regional tour, with showings in Oman, Bahrain, UAE, and Saudi Arabia, the exhibition has reached its final Middle East destination in Qatar, where it reaches a climax to coincide with the celebrations of Doha: Capital of Arab Culture 2010. Here, for the very first time, audiences can see My Father’s House in its entirety, incorporating all of the works under one roof.  In addition, they will be treated to new work which has never been seen in the region before. Lastly, Doha will host an exceptional array of wrap around activities which will engage a great range of participants

The exhibition was ceremonially opened by Dr Hamad Bin Abdellaziz Al-Kuwari, Qatar’s Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage and Mr Simon Winetroube, Director of British Council, in the presence of Ambassadors, representatives of the Government of Qatar as well as a host of other dignitaries and VIP Guests.

Commenting on the opening Mr Simon Winetroube said “The British Council is proud and happy to partner Qatar’s Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage in bringing this large-scale, high-profile exhibition to Qatar along with a host of enjoyable wrap around activities. We believe that this will add excitement and depth to the celebration of Doha: Capital of Arab Culture 2010. My Father’s House is much more than a stand-alone exhibition. It is an engaging conversation which provides opportunities for the public to interact, participate, and express themselves. It tells the stories of many people and places, demonstrating the powerful links between these people and the built environment in which they live. The British Council takes this opportunity to invite members of the general public to become part of this dialogue and add their perspectives to this unique narrative of architecture, culture and life.   
Members of the general public; enthusiasts for photography and film, architecture and culture, anyone with an interest in cultural heritage, should all find something of value in my Father’s House. ”

My Father’s House has made Waqif Art Center come alive with still and moving imagery, audio and visual pieces of art which represent the perspectives of 8 renowned artists. Among them is Qatar’s well-loved Film Maker Hafiz Ali, whose documentary ‘The Scent of Shadows’ which is part of My Father’s House, was awarded a Silver Medal at Bahrain’s Film Festival this year. The other participating artists are Wed Abduljawad, Boushra Almutawakil, Lamya Gargash, Camille Zakharia, Tim Hetherington, Tim Loveless and Hazel Thompson.

The opening ceremony of My Father’s House offered a rare opportunity for those present to interact with the artists. Once the formalities of the opening concluded, the artists themselves led the VIPs on a special tour through the gallery. The invitees, dignitaries and members of the media, then had an opportunity to attend Artists Talks, where each of the artists shared insights into their creative process; they provided individual perspectives on their work and what inspired it. During the question and answer session which followed, those gathered were able to explore the themes of My Father’s House further.

My Father’s House is extending this unique opportunity to other visitors to the exhibition as well. During the 24th and 25th of February, visitors will have the special privilege of enjoying a series of gallery tours, where the artists themselves will share first hand information and lead viewers through the presented works. After the 25th of February a team of professionally trained tour guides will be on hand to lead visitors through the gallery.

Commenting on another unusual angle of My Father’s House, Project Manager Lana Kayed said “The British Council is determined to offer Qatar a memorable experience through My Father’s House. This is more than an exhibition on architecture and culture. It is an encounter. You might notice that we have chosen the very symbolic and much loved location of Souq Waqif to host the main exhibition. That is because we wanted to take the exhibition to the people; all the people. An exhibition is generally targeted at those who can enjoy the experience in a visual dimension. I am delighted to say that this exhibition uses audio technologies so that the visually impaired can also enjoy the experience in their own element. This is something, which sets My Father’s House apart.

The wrap around activities of My Father’s House cater to families, children, youth, professional and non-professionals. We are extremely pleased that so many special needs groups have signed on for special tours along with schools and other groups who wish to enjoy the opportunity and celebrate ‘life’ as we see it in living colour.”

The associated activities of My Father’s House include a Regional Creative Writing Workshop which will take place from the 25th to 28th February where participants can learn the skills of creative writing and work together to come up with a film script inspired by the theme of the exhibition. A Short Documentary Film Making Workshop will follow from the 25th February to 6th March; Hafiz Ali will lead this Workshop. Community Photography Workshops will be held from 4th to 6th March 2010. These workshops are open to anyone interested in developing practical skills in photography. The Photography workshops are linked to an exciting treasure hunt which follows. The family oriented Treasure Hunt Competition will take place from 7th to 9th March 2010. The public can participate as teams or individuals and follow a set of clues, which will lead them through the city, photographing the sites they have identified from the clues. The British Council has announced that winners will be awarded a series of prizes.

The exhibition is being held at the Waqif Art Center and will be open to the public from the 24th of February 2010 till 16th March 2010 from 9.30 a.m to 12.30 p.m and 4.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m. Admission for the exhibition is free.

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