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Anima gallery to boost art in Qatar.

AILYN AGONIA DOHA ANIMA Art Education Center located at The Pearl had a glitzy invitation-only opening ceremony on Saturday.

The 570-square metre facility featuring has an Art Education Center and a trendy lounge where people can gather to bask in the world of art while enjoying light food.

Anima Gallery and Lounge aims to educate the residents of Qatar, especially the young people, about art and support the emerging artists in this country. It will open its doors to the public on March 26.

At a press conference held prior to the opening ceremony, Ghada Sholy, owner of the newest art hub in the country, said Anima's Art Education Center will feature lectures by artists, collectors and professors from the Virginia Commonwealth University Qatar. Later on, she added, they would be collaborating with other universities in the country.

"The Art Education Center is open to everybody and will hold lessons for ladies in the morning, mixed class (male and female) in the afternoon and for children during weekends," said Sholy.

Anima's opening exhibition 'Together We Connect' features an interesting mix of international and regional artists and pioneers on the Qatari art scene Yousef Ahmed, Ali Hassan and Amal al Aathem. Ahmed, pioneer of modern Arabic contemporary art forms, described the new gallery as another channel of the art movement in Qatar.

"I am exhibiting four of my works and one installation.

Palm tree paper, which is a fragile material, is my main media. As a calligrapher, I cannot also ignore calligraphy in my works. I'm trying to showcase the local touch to the global art scene to show what Qatar is all about. Palm tree is from Qatar, I am a Qatari, we are Arabs and I am a Muslim," Ahmed said.

Amal al Aathem said, "My works are about women in general. I hope my works convey the messages that I want to communicate." While Ali Hassan, who for more than 25 years used the 28 letters of the Arabic alphabet in his artworks, said the establishment of Anima adds another leaf to the Golden Chapter of Art the country is writing for the past few years.

The opening exhibition also features the works of international artists such as Jason Martin, Billy Childish, Tracey Emin, Bernard Frize and Tom Sachs. Regional artists Hassan Hajjaj, Mohamad Said-Baalbaki 'Baal' and Abdulrahman Katanani complete the exciting roster.

"This is my first time in the region and I'm thrilled about this venture. My ambition is to leave behind paintings that will mean something to people from different cultures, different parts of the world," Martin said. The other artists represented at Anima and likely to have future exhibitions at the venue include the children of world-renowned Armenian painter Paul Guiragossian.

Emmanuel, Manuella and Jean-Paul are all accomplished painters. According to Jean-Paul they are slated to stage an exhibition at Anima in January 2013.

"I have been to so many countries and travelled a lot because of my craft but this is my first time here. I am looking forward to showcasing my works, our works, in this place," he said.

Meanwhile, Jordanian artist Jehad al Amri was all praise for the initiative of Qatar in promoting art.

Though based in Europe, al Amri makes sure to reflect his Arab roots through his works.

His favorite subject is the village where he came from.

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Publication:Qatar Tribune (Doha, Qatar)
Geographic Code:7QATA
Date:Mar 25, 2012
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