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Curtain call for 6:3:1 art expo.

(From left) Eleanor Barton, Hamzah Abdelal, Donwan Harrell, Jung Kwon and Nayla Ahmad al-Mulla. The Gallery at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar (VCUQatar) is hosting 6:3:1, an exhibition that brings together the work of six invited alumni from three major design disciplines at VCUQatar and VCUarts. The event, which runs till Thursday, is open to the public. Fashion design, graphic design and interior design are represented and a cross-campus curatorial collaboration has provided the opportunity for a dynamic exchange of ideas. The result is an exhibition that celebrates the creative process and achievements of each designer. "It also highlights their shared connection with VCU, their drive to succeed and their exciting professional journeys. This is what unites 6:3:1 as an exhibition and what, it is hoped, will inspire future design graduates of VCU," said Caitlin Doherty, exhibitions and speaker curator at VCUQatar. The six alumni exhibiting their works are Hamzah Abdelal, Nayla Ahmad al-Mulla and Reem al-Thani (VCUQatar) and Donwan Harrell, Jung Kwon and Eleanor Barton (VCUarts). Mixing Arabic calligraphy with digital art has become Abdelal's trademark. Abdelal, who graduated with a BFA in graphic design in 2011, said: "As a passionate Palestinian artist, I seek to embody human rights values and the essence of freedom through digital art, a form of expression relatively new to the Middle Eastern region." Abdelal currently work as a designer with Fitch. Class of 2008 fashion design graduate al-Mulla's first ready-to-wear collection showcased in the exhibition is used by her to explore the design and production process. "The intention of the collection is to start a conversation: an everyday garment that is comfortable and simple, yet intriguing enough for a stranger to stop the wearer to compliment or enquire about the garment. Friendships can be made that way. I have learned a lot making this collection and look forward to many more," she said. Al-Mulla works as alumni relations co-ordinator at VCUQatar. Al-Thani, who graduated in 2010 with a double major in interior and fashion design, started working at Mathaf as an exhibition designer a month after graduating. She mentored under a senior designer from New York to design and implement the inaugural exhibition, Sajjil: A Century in Modern Arab Art. "In almost three years at Mathaf, I have designed four exhibitions and implemented and managed seven. I have had the opportunity to work with notable professionals from all corners of the globe, each sharing with me highly specialised skill sets as well as the invaluable industry experience they have gained by working in the competitive world of international design," she said, explaining her exhibit. Harrell, who graduated in 1992 in fashion design, is founder, designer and CEO of PRPS - a luxury denim brand - based in America and Japan. "The values I absorbed at VCU encouraged me to consider an international career, designing for companies like Nike. They gave me the courage to strike out alone and form PRPS, confident in my dream of 'artisanal' jeans evoking Americana, fabricated with innovative Japanese processing and traditional hand-crafting." Harrell is presenting his current work, the PRPS Fall 2013 Grizzly Adams line, and his Noir line jeans at the exhibition. Class of 2007 graphic design graduate Kwon believes in solving problems through a thoughtful, intellectual and analytical process. "It is almost science applied in art. During the design process, I like to be very messy, hands-on, open-minded and provocative, observe possibilities and ask many questions. By contrast, however, I like my solutions to be simple, organised and intuitive." His inspirations come from his surroundings and things he encounters on the streets on a daily basis. They come unexpectedly and from diverse sources, he adds. Barton is currently senior associate and director of Interior Design Studio at Glave and Holmes Architecture in Richmond, Virginia. She graduated in 2004 from VCUarts in interior design. "Interior design is about people. It is their experience of a place and how well it serves their purposes that will be the measures of your design's success. I believe in the power to change lives through the transformation of existing spaces and creation of new ones. With the help of my team, I've had the opportunity to work on a variety of project types with diverse groups of users: from university faculty and student spaces to cultural, religious and historic interiors. It is truly a thrill when I visit a finished project and see the activity of people as they engage the interior and each other." BELOW: Reem al-Thani's exhibition design piece in the foreground.

Gulf Times Newspaper 2013

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Publication:Gulf Times (Doha, Qatar)
Date:Apr 22, 2013
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