- Special Pages
Martin Hope (left) and Abdulrahman Al Hajiri at the press conference. (Syed Omar)
BY RAYNALD C RIVERA
DOHA: The upcoming Arts and Disability Festival, the first of its kind to be held in the Middle East, would help defy stereotypes and change perceptions on disability.
“The Arts and Disability Festival promises to engage people in Qatar on the issue of disability in an entirely new way, through works of outstanding vision and originality. This is a first in this part of the world, and I hope it will help defy stereotypes and change perceptions on disability,” Martin Hope, Director of the British Council, told a press conference yesterday at the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage.
The council has partnered with the ministry for the event in Katara from March 15 to 30 as a highlight of the activities for Qatar-UK 2013 year-long celebration.
The festival, which is one of more than 50 events scheduled to be held in Qatar and the UK, features an exciting programme of dance, music, live performances, exhibitions, films, talks and workshops.
All the works in the festival have been created by leading British deaf and disabled artists to be showcased for the first time outside the UK.
Highlights include Fusional Fragments, a new work of five dancers, created by Marc Brew in collaboration with composer Philip Sheppard featuring world-famous percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie.
The programme has been selected from Unlimited, the largest celebration and exploration of disability arts which was a major element of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, held in parallel with the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games last summer.
Stressing the important role art plays in society in raising awareness about difficult issues, Hope said, “Not only will it (the festival) be a great opportunity to see some fantastic contemporary British art, but it will also provide an important forum for discussion about the issue of disability, and how it affects individuals and families both within the arts sector, and within society more broadly.”
“The festival has been selected from Unlimited and comes as a result of our partnership with British Council as I went on a scoping visit last summer to attend Unlimited. We aim through this festival to raise awareness about arts for disabled people as it is important for the Youth Department to highlight the development of people with disabilities and integrating them in society,” said Abdulrahman Al Hajiri, Director of Youth Activities Department, Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage.