All photos by Baba Tamim
The Qatar China 2016 Year of Culture kicked off at Katara Cultural Village yesterday with a wide range of acrobatic, dancing and singing performances.
The ceremonial event was attended by several officials, including Qatar’s Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage Dr. Hamad bin Abdul Aziz Al Kuwari, Chinese Minister of Culture Luo Shugang and Chinese ambassador to Qatar Li Chen.
Speaking at last night’s event, Al Kuwari said:
“It is necessary to restore the glory of communication between the two civilizations and spread mutual knowledge and understanding between the magnificent cultures of Qatar and China with their multiple identities.”
His Chinese counter-part Luo Shugang added, “This Year of Culture will have more than 30 exciting cultural events including art shows, exhibitions, film and TV program screenings, photography showcase, book fairs, sporting events and symposiums.”
Last night’s Jiang’nan style show was performed by the Zhejiang Song & Dance Theater and Zhejiang Folk Art & Acrobatics General Troupe.
The audience consisted of a mixed crowd of expats from China and other nations, as well as Qataris. Speaking to Doha News, many expressed pride and nostalgia after watching the show.
Chinese expat June, an entrepreneur, said:
“We felt like (we were at) home today. We are proud of China, we have been living here from four years but never saw anything like tonight. We hope to see more such shows organized here.”
Speaking after the event, a QM representative told Doha News, “It’s hard work to represent two countries, two different cultures together, though we managed it well and I am happy to see that.”
Sunday night’s festivities were among the first in a series of scheduled events scheduled to take place throughout the year.
They include a showcase of contemporary Chinese artists, titled “What about the Art?” at Al Riwaq.
It will be curated by New York-based Chinese artist Cai Guo Qiang, who exhibited a solo show in Qatar at the Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art in 2011.
Other confirmed events include an exhibition titled, “Silks from the Silk Road – Chinese Silk Art” at the Qatar Museum Gallery at Katara.
Meanwhile, China will host several activities focused on Qatar’s heritage, culture and arts including performances by Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, the state news agency added.
Speaking at a press conference last week to officially announce the Qatar-China Year of Culture, Chinese ambassador Li Chen said the initiative is a way of boosting ties between the two countries.
Highlighting the November 2014 trip by Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Li told Doha News that relations between Qatar and China are already “comprehensive.”
However, the Year of Culture will help expand those bonds beyond politicians and diplomats to all residents.
“The friendship of our two countries will lie in the hands of our two people,” the ambassador said.
He said did not know the exact number of Chinese citizens living in Qatar except that it was in the “thousands” and could exceed 10,000 individuals.