Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar (VCUQatar), in conjunction with Msheireb Properties, officially launched the Strange Wonders 2016 exhibition at Company House, one of the four heritage houses within Msheireb Downtown Doha.
The exhibit represents a culmination of the artistic journey of the students, alumni and faculty and staff of VCUQatar.
The exhibition was inspired by a vision set forth by Msheireb Museums, which mandated that the works of art presented in Strange Wonders 2016 derive from a theme of pioneering innovation, industrial development, growth and advancement.
This creative guideline is in keeping with the history of Company House during the period of the discovery of oil and the life of those pioneers who set the bases of the modernisation of Qatar.
The title, ‘Strange Wonders’ is based on a direct quotation from one of the original Qatari oil pioneers, Thamir Muftah, who witnessed the many new changes that came to Qatar with the discovery of oil.
He recalled that, “we were seeing so many things of the like of which we had never even imagined. Coloured tins, pineapples, pears, oranges, all kinds of strange wonders”.
The exhibition aims to portray the inner core of innovation running throughout a structure of generations. It brings together unique, intergenerational mindsets, ranging from the students and professors of VCUQatar, to its alumni and staff, and demonstrates an evolution of a creative industry.
The ‘Strange Wonders’ exhibit also demonstrates VCUQatar and Msheireb Properties’ joint commitment to offering unique platforms that provide students, staff, faculty and alumni with the opportunity to create original works of art and to have their pieces presented to the public within a juried exposition.
The exhibition will serve as both inspiration and education for promising local artists on the world of possibilities available within a diversity of artistic mediums. Through this exhibition, Msheireb Properties underscores its enduring leadership in preserving and sharing Qatari national heritage and pride and to maintain partnerships with all entities that promote Qatar’s rich culture and history and preserves them for the next generations.
For VCUQatar, ‘Strange Wonders’ complements and encourages the emerging and established talent within the university’s faculty and student body.
“This event marks one of those occasions to share our insight and capacities, to bridge our intellectual cultures, to foster value and quality, and to build on our distinct histories and heritages,” said Craig Anz, associate dean of Academic Affairs at VCUQatar.
“It was important to Msheireb Properties to sustain our partnership with VCUQatar in the ‘Strange Wonders’ exhibition whereas Msheireb Properties’ mission and vision have always been aligned with a steadfast support of artistic pursuits and furnishing the next generation of aspiring artists with a world-class medium to unveil their creative endeavours,” explained Hafiz Ali, director of Msheireb Museums.
“This year’s exhibit was especially significant because it underscores Company House’s directive of being the leading forum for proliferating the history and tradition of the forefathers of Qatar’s oil industry and their seminal role in the modernisation and advancement of our nation,” he added.
Renowned Qatari artist Yousef Ahmed, Msheireb Properties CEO engineer Abdulla Hassan al-Mehshadi and other dignitaries were present at the opening of ‘Strange Wonders’ 2016, which features a robust and eclectic mix of stunning and inventive visual arts in diverse materials and forms.
Participating students, alumni and faculty and staff include: Sara Khalid al-Buainain, Shaika Mahmoud al-Mahmoud, Nathan Ross Davis, Nagiya Moideen, Hadeer Omar, Fleming Jeffries, Othman M R Khunji, Dr Thomas Modeen, Corinna Seto and Annette Wendling-Willeke.