As the capital city of Qatar, Doha has undergone many transformations from its early beginnings of pearl fishing, and the discovery of oil and then gas, to become the emerging global hub that it is today. As a result of this rapid and accelerated development, questions and issues related to cultural identity, the built environment and urban landscape are highly contested and debated. Qatar Mirror engages with these complex issues in which the physical built environment is continually changing and dramatically affecting the sense of cultural identity.
Qatar Mirror aims to stimulate local and national dialogue regarding the importance of the preservation of traditions embodied in the urban landscape and social fabric, alongside the desire for modernization and economic growth. Artists Ben Barbour and Michael Perrone investigate Qatar’s built environment and cultural heritage. They re-examine conventional drawing and painting techniques in documenting the evolution of the city, and reflect on preserved locations, places in transition, and imagined futures.
The visual language of Perrone’s artwork calls to mind the Precisionist style, which first emerged in the United States after World War I, and was a celebration of the industrialization and modernization of the new American cityscape. Barbour’s artworks are concerned with issues of everyday life, and the social and cultural memories of the changing urban landscape in the zones that are scheduled for re-development. Qatar Mirror brings together these divergent viewpoints with an aim to stimulate debate on issues surrounding identity, community and modernization in Qatar.