A new batch of 20 contemporary artists are taking up residence at Doha’s Fire Station this month.
The group of 14 women and six men were selected from more than 150 applicants, Qatar Museums (QM) said.
The artists, half of whom are Qatari and the other half are expat residents, include photographers, videographers, designers, painters and poets.
Three of them – Lulu Al Musfer, Hana Al Saadi and Maryam Al Homaid – are returning for a second year.
QM recently held a meet-up at the Fire Station to welcome the artists.
Speaking at the event, Fire Station director Khalifa Al Obaidli said that he was “hugely passionate” about the program:
“(It) is so important for the development of artists in Qatar, as it celebrates local talent and gives young artists a platform to grow, exhibit and collaborate,” he said.
‘Inspiring indigenous creativity’
This is the second year QM has hosted an Artist in Residence program.
The first began last September.
Selected artists were given use of individual studio space at the Fire Station from then until June, plus a QR4,000 monthly stipend.
Their residency culminated in an exhibition of their work that runs from June to November.
Art that is currently on display at the Fire Station from the first program’s residents include works that reflect multi-cultural identities, childhood memories, life in war-torn Syria and the connection Muslims feel with the Kaaba.
As part of the program, the new residents will have weekly meet-ups and mentoring sessions with more established local and visiting artists.
“The initiative perfectly reflects Qatar Museums’ vision of inspiring an indigenous culture of creativity and innovation,” Al Obaidli said of the scheme.
“We hope that the next chapter of the program helps these talented artists become recognized on an international scale in the future.”
The Fire Station building was built in 1982, and used as a headquarters for Qatar’s Civil Defense until it was handed over to QM in 2012 for redevelopment.
The venue opened last year after the interior of the building was stripped and re-purposed to create galleries, art spaces and studios with an industrial and minimalist vibe.
There are artists’ studios on five floors, while the former garage for the fire trucks has been transformed into a gallery.
And in July, the Fire Station opened Cafe #999, a new eatery that features several menu items with a local touch.
Popular choices include a camel kofta wrap, a sujuk (Arabic sausage) burger and sparkling iced tea flavored with saffron.
The twenty artists selected for the program this year are:
Frances Grane, Fahad Al Obaidly, Lulu Al Musfer, Zoe Hawk, Zach Stensen, Amr Elkafrawy, Richard Blackwell, Hana Al Saadi, Maryam Ahmed, Maryam Al Suwaidi, Mariah Dekkenga, Tanzeela Abbasi, Ahmed Al Jufairi, Maryam Al Semaitt, Nawar Al Mutlaq, Abeer Al Kuwari, Nesma Khodier, Juan Martinez, Maryam Al Homaid and Titika Stamouli.
Have you visited the Fire Station Doha? Thoughts?