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Fire Station opening 2015

Chantelle D'mello

Fire Station opening 2015

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.

New artists in residence are welcomed to the Doha Fire Station

Qatar Museums

New artists in residence are welcomed to the Doha Fire Station

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.

Artist Emelina Soares and Sheikha Mayassa at the Fire Station Artist in Residence exhibition 2016

Al Mayassa bint Hamad/Instagram

Artist Emelina Soares and Sheikha Mayassa at the Fire Station Artist in Residence exhibition, June 2016

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.”

Fire Station

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.

Cafe 999 at the Fire Station

Reem Saad / Doha News

Cafe 999 at the Fire Station

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?

All photos by Reem Saad

A new café and food truck called #999 have opened at the Doha Fire Station, offering a place for people to relax in a hurry.

The eatery is adjacent to the former Civil Defense building’s art studio.

It features several menu items with a local touch, including a camel kofta wrap, a sujuk (Arabic sausage) burger and sparkling iced tea flavored with saffron.

There are also “nutrition shots,” paninis, soups, salads and pastries, as well as caffeinated beverages, with most items ranging from QR20 to QR40 each.

نقدم لكم البرجر.. بحُلته الجديدة • Sujuk Burger: Introducing… burger art

A video posted by Doha Fire Station (@dohafirestation) on

Commenting on the venue’s name, which references the emergency phone number in Qatar, general manager Tamer Lachine said, “We refer to the café as a place where people need to relax urgently.”

Café #999 – a collaboration between Qatar Museums and Salam Hospitality – officially opened to the public on Saturday.

Its unveiling signals a new stage in the development of the Fire Station complex, which will eventually also house a restaurant, an art supply shop and a cinema.

Food truck

Alongside its dine-in menu, the café offers simple take-out meals from a specially-branded food truck outside.

Cafe #999's food truck

Reem Saad / Doha News

Cafe #999’s food truck

The truck is Qatar’s second oldest fire engine, and may travel around the country to sell its wares at some point, Lachine told Doha News:

“We don’t plan to take it out on the road yet because for now we just want it to be part of the station, but maybe in the future we will,” he said.

The #999’s truck is the second food truck to open in Qatar. Popular restaurant Burgeri already has a roving food truck that sells burgers, fries and drinks at various spots around the country.

Meanwhile, Qatar Museums has begun vetting potential food truck operators ahead of plans to set up five such businesses at the MIA Park after the summer.

Fire Station project

The Fire Station building was built in 1982. It was handed over to QM in 2012 for redevelopment after Civil Defense relocated to a new, larger premises nearby.

Artist Emelina Soares and Sheikha Mayassa at Fire Station open studios

Al Mayassa bint Hamad/Instagram

Artist Emelina Soares and Sheikha Mayassa at Fire Station open studios

The venue opened to the public 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 last month, the Fire Station opened its first annual exhibition of works created during its artists-in-residence program.

Cafe #999 is open daily from 8am to 11pm, and 2 to 11pm on Fridays.

The Fire Station gallery itself has shorter hours, however. It is open Sunday to Saturday, 10am to 7pm, and closed on Tuesdays.

Do you plan to check out #999? Thoughts?

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.

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سعدت اليوم بزيارة استديوهات الفنانين في "مطافئ – مقر الفنانين" ضمن فعالية أمسية الأستديو المفتوح سعدت فيها بلقاء الفنانين والتعرف على اخر اعمالهم، و طرق صناعتها، و استعدادهم للمعرض الذي سيجمع اعمالهم بعد انتهاء برنامج الإقامة الفنية. فالصورة الفنانة إيميلينا سواريس تشرح عن أعمالها في الإستديو الخاص بها. I enjoyed attending the Open Studio Night activity today @DohaFireStation where I met the artists and saw their latest work and learned more about their creative process. Also saw the progress made towards their upcoming end of ‏residency exhibition. In the photo Emelina Soares explaining her work at her studio.

A post shared by Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani (@almayassabnthamad) on

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.

New residency

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.

Fire Station opening 2015

Chantelle D'mello

Fire Station opening 2015

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.

Thoughts?