I arrived in Qatar in November 2017 in a relatively complex geopolitical context since the country had just been embargoed by the neighbouring kingdoms.
If the fear of the food shortage seemed to be definitively far behind, Qatari identity appeared everytime stronger as a result of this exclusion feeling.
Ghada Al Khater, a Qatari artist deals with this historical event in Qatar in her project “Qatar: energy drink”.
Graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University Qatar, Ghada studied graphic design and she usually deals with topics such like freedom of expression, fake news and injustice.
Following her participation in a three-months program as an artist in residence at La Cité des Arts of Paris, she questions the political situation of Qatar in a collection of several paintings designed as a cartoon during an open studio which took place at Doha Fire Station in April 2018.
On this occasion, I had the opportunity to have a first interview with her and we discovered the masterpieces she was exhibiting.
This time, I wanted to know more about her personal background as well as her professional steps.
When did you start your artistic career ? Did something trigger you to dedicate yourself to art ?
Art and design have been a great part of my life for a long time but it was the blockade that triggered my desire for a creative outlet. I started to create political art (something I have never done before) which paved the way for my career as an Artist.
Do you think that you are taking part in a construction of Qatari identity ? Do you pursue this objective or is the aim of your work totally different ?
Being Qatari and a female is who I am. Therefore I think it is a given that my background and environment play a big role in what I do, whether directly or indirectly.
However, I do think where my art touches upon regional or local topics, it is a strength in knowing how to frame the work to suit your audience. I cannot pretend to be anything than what I am, as my work is usually a sincere reflection of my personal thoughts and reactions to certain events.
The aim of my work is to present Middle Eastern and local issues using a global visual language that enables the diverse group of people who make up Qatar, to understand better processes and events around us.
What do your parents & grandparents think about your job ? Do they compare your job to the one they had ?
Aside from being an artist I have a day job at Qatar Museums. My parents and family fully support my interest in Arts and have expressed their pride in my work.
Sometimes they become protective when I address sensitive issues relating to Gulf Countries politics and are afraid because our neighbouring countries don’t necessarily exercise the same freedoms we do.
They do not compare, however, I do realize – I am grateful for that – they constantly remind me that I am allowed to do what I do in my time.
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