Senior Lecturer at the University of Wales, Bryan Thomas and (RIGHT) Senior Lecturer in Fine Arts at the University of Wales, Iwan Bala. Shaival Dalal
DOHA: Several initiatives have been proposed in a bid to develop cultural ties between Wales and Qatar by acclaimed artists and academics who visited here as part of a ‘Wales trade mission.’
Visual art exhibitions, exchange programmes and workshops are set to be held besides a plan to open a ‘Wales heritage centre’ in Qatar due to the high potentials here.
During a week long visit they looked for opportunities to develop collaboration in art and culture between Wales and Qatar taking a step beyond the ties both share in LNG trade.
“The links we have is very strong and we think we could make it stronger through cultural collaboration,” Bryan Thomas, Senior Lecturer at the University of Wales-Trinity Saint David told The Peninsula yesterday.
The delegation has visited several places like the museums, the Katara and held discussions with artists and officials.
“The new young museums look so fantastic and dynamic,” said Thomas.
“We can learn a lot from here, and Doha too can learn more from us,” he added.
The visit was more aimed at making links with the cultural centres and people as a foundation to begin activities related to art and culture here and in Wales as well.
Such events are likely to begin with hosting workshops then exhibitions and help young Qataris to develop careers artists.
“We came here with the intentions of possibilities of bringing quite prominent artists from the Wales to exhibit in Doha,” said Iwan Bala, a Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at the University of Wales-Trinity Saint David.
Bala is a well-known Welsh artist who has exhibited in China, USA, Africa and Europe.
“We have been talking to various people and certainly talking to Katara and other places to work with. They will get a group of artists from Qatar over to exhibit in Wales,” Bala said.
“Before that we will come back to commence this relation and do a series of lectures which will pave way to the exhibition. It will be the best way to keep the relationship growing, he added.
Also plans are in motion to arrange residence artists from Wales to work with young Qatari students or recent graduates.
“It’s a new art scene here, there are few but they are not established mid career artists. So we anticipate that we can foster that kind of art,” said Bala.
Wales is also starting to have a platform aboard similar to Qatar. Also both are aiming at preserving traditions and heritage while giving space for modern art. “Our culture being different but we are very close to London, and we have a struggle to keep our identity. In Qatar there is need to modernise but also need not lose their identity and culture,” said Bala.
“Qatar is looking at preserving its heritage and taking it to the future. We are also trying to do the same with the Wales,” he added.
The University of Wales-Trinity Saint David is also planning to propose to bring a heritage centre of Wales to Qatar.