More expos, talks urged to boost art scene

 22 Jul 2014 - 7:12

Sabah Arbilli at his solo exhibition at InterContinental Doha. Abdul Basit

DOHA: Organising more art exhibitions and artist talks could further boost the country’s vibrant art scene, says acclaimed artist Sabah Arbilli.
“Exhibitions and lectures could take people to the inner core of the beauty of art to make them understand and appreciate it more,” Arbilli told this daily on the sidelines of the launch of ‘Alif’, his solo exhibition for Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr.
Arbilli is an award-winning British artist of Iraqi origin, known for his expertise in calligraphy and sculpture. 
He has made impact on the art of Arabic calligraphy, bringing it to the forefront of the international scene over the past 15 years. 
As a pioneer of the genre, Arbilli has become a key figure in calligraphy art and given it a new contemporary style.
“During exhibitions I always explain to people my art which is modern abstract calligraphy,” said Arbilli, who also paints.
“I try to do it in any way to promote Arabic calligraphy. Any form or shape doesn’t matter to me, however, having exhibitions at different venues give people an idea how this important art is related to Islamic culture,” he said, adding he takes calligraphy to other countries through expos and lectures to raise awareness on the essence of calligraphy as an art form.
He considers public art important in providing the needed push to encourage debate among people. Response to his monumental sculpture unveiled on the Corniche last National Day has been overwhelming, he said.
“Public art is close to my heart because it is for everyone. Through the years a lot of my art have been acquired by private collectors. Unfortunately, the number of people seeing the pieces is very limited, but when it is public art, everyone sees it.”
Doha can expect another public art piece from him soon, much bigger than the one on the Corniche, he said.
“I’m working on it and it’s going to be in Qatar very soon. The location will be revealed soon.”
He describes Qatar’s art scene as “magnificent” with many places offering numerous possibilities for people to interact with art.
“You’ve got Katara, Souq Waqif, Museum of Islamic Art, all these places have one target  — to promote art,” he said, adding the present art landscape “gives the artist a way to promote himself and develop in a better way.
“Since I came here four years ago, the number of people that ask me to do an original art piece for them is unbelievable, while in other places  demand is much less,” he explained.
He also lauded interaction between Qatari and foreign artists who “are unified in the beauty of art.
“There are many amazing artists living here, as well as people who give them artistic push to take their art to a different level.”
“Also, we have a wonderful Qatar Museums working hard to bring artists from around the world to show us their works. We hear the names of Damien Hirst and Richard Serra. It takes a lot of time and dedication to bring such big names, and is a boost to the art scene.” The expo is open until September 17 at InterContinental Doha The City.    The Peninsula