Oriental rugs re-imagined in sand, sculptures made from scavenged trash, 3D perspectives of old Doha and a tapestry commenting on social stratification were among the works on display by up-and-coming artists during the inaugural open studios night at the Doha Fire Station.
Last September, 18 people began their placements as the first artists in residence at the former Civil Defense building in Wadi Al Sail.
With two months to go until the end of their nine-month residency, the artists opened their studio doors last night to the public to show their works.
Qatar Museums chairperson Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani toured the studios, meeting the artists and discussing their projects.
They will debut in an end-of-term exhibition at the hub’s Garage Gallery on June 2 and be on display until the end of this year.
Among the artists she visited were Emelina Soares, who makes replicas of traditional rugs using dyed sand, Qatari painter Nasser Al-Attiyah and Bahraini designer Othman Khunji.
Preparations are already underway to choose the next batch of artists, with applications open until May 1 for Qatari nationals and residents. Local creatives can apply for the scheme through the Doha Fire Station’s website.
The nine-month residency program is open to artists from a range of practices, including performance, multimedia, visual artists, musicians, writers and curatorial.
The successful artists are given individual studio space that is open 24 hours a day, plus a QR4,000 monthly stipend for the duration of their residency.
The Fire Station opened last March after the interior of the building was stripped and repurposed to create galleries, art spaces, and studios with a raw, industrial and minimalist vibe.
There are artists’ studios over five floors, while the former garage for the fire trucks has been transformed into a gallery.
A second phase of the Fire Station building, dubbed the “annex,” will contain workshop spaces, a restaurant, an art supply shop and a cinema.
It will also have a an eatery, which will be called Café #999, that is set to open to the public next month, a QM spokesperson told Doha News.