Exhibition celebrating Qatar-Japan Year of Culture opens in Tokyo
Doha: “Dialogue of Papers – A legacy of Qatar Japan Year of Culture”, an exhibition organized as part of the Years of Culture program to mark 50 years of diplomatic relations between Qatar and Japan, opened its doors on Friday in Tokyo .
The opening took place in the presence of the Chargé d’Affaires representative of the Qatar Embassy in Japan, Sheikh Hamad Nasser Hamad Khalid Al Thani. The exhibition, featuring 28 pieces by prominent Qatari artists Yousef Ahmad and Japanese artist Hayaki Nishigaki, will be on display at the popular 3331 Arts Chiyoda center in Tokyo, Japan through June 30.
Years of Culture was established in 2012 by the President of Qatar Museums, Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, to promote mutual understanding, recognition and appreciation between Qatar and the world. Since then, the Years of Culture program has enjoyed remarkable success in its mission to partner with the UK, Brazil, Germany, Turkey, India, France and other countries over the past decade.
The Chargé d’Affaires of the Qatari Embassy, Sheikh Hamad Nasser Hamad Khalid Al Thani, during the opening.
Opening the event, the Acting Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs at MATHAF: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Dr Aisha Al Misnad, who also curated the exhibition, said: “Dialogue of Paper is a special exhibition that marks the 10th anniversary of the Year of Qatar in Qatar. Culture and celebrates 50 years of strong ties between Qatar and Japan. In fact, Japan was the first partner of the Year of Culture, and we are privileged to be able to exhibit these amazing pieces that represent the lasting artistic collaborations that the exchange has initiated. At Qatar Museums, we believe that when cultures connect, we create beautiful things. As a result of this collaboration, the exhibition is a true embodiment of this feeling.
“Dialogue of Paper” is the result of an incredible collaboration between Yousef Ahmad and Hayaki Nishigaki that highlights the similarities between the cultural practices of papermaking and calligraphy in Japan and Qatar.
Together, Ahmad and Nishigaki mixed Japanese washi paste – a richly historic symbol of Japanese culture – with paste made from the fronds of the Qatari palm tree, considered a blessed tree in Arab and Islamic culture. The result was a neo-hybrid article that served as a literal medium, while representing the fusion of two different environments and cultures. Each artist then applied their own interpretation of calligraphy to the paper to create a unique visual vernacular that explores both the difference and the similarity between the two cultural traditions.
A special piece embodies the beauty that emerges when cultures connect. “We have made nations and tribes of you so that you may know one another” takes up a verse from the Koran, chosen by Yousif Ahmad, which expresses the importance of a good relationship between the different nations.
The chosen verse is represented by a circular phrase in the center of the work, with Nishigaki decorating the space in his own artistic style. In a symbolic turn of events, the resulting artwork corresponded to the style of Arabic calligraphy called “Jeli Diwani”.
Ahmad first practiced this type of Arabic calligraphy in 1970, which coincidentally also marked the beginning of the relationship between Qatar and Japan.