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"The Shapes of Water" Exhibition

Date:

10/18/2018


The Embassy of Italy to the State of Qatar and Triennale di Milano, in partnership with Msheireb Properties, presented on the 17th of October, in the prestigious location of the Msheireb Enrichment Centre, the exhibition “The Shapes of Water”, a survey on social design and product design projects related to different uses of water.

The exhibition, open to public for free from the 18th of October until the 3rd of November, comes from a project of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MAECI) with Triennale di Milano. The framework of the programme “Italy, Cultures, the Mediterranean” is an initiative launched by MAECI to encourage dialogue and cultural exchanges, and promote the various cultural forms and identities of the Mediterranean region, the Middle East and the Gulf.

“The Shapes of Water” exhibition deals with the theme of environmental sustainability, and specifically water, a fundamental resource for mankind that has turned into a precious commodity and in some cases into a cause of geopolitical tensions due to its scarcity in certain territories. However, the use of water and its governance have always been a subject of interest for design, since, as it is perceived as a limited resource, water has become more and more relevant for business and commercial purposes. The idea of the exhibition is to present water as a bond – not as source of division – between peoples and to return to the authentic social and civil concept at the core of design.

“We are particularly pleased”, said the Ambassador of Italy to the State of Qatar, H.E. Pasquale Salzano, “that Doha represents the first destination of a prestigious travelling exhibition, which will bring a selection of innovative and creative design objects in other countries of the region.”

“The Shapes of Water” exhibition is composed of two sections. The first section provides an overview of items related to different uses of water (condensing, collecting, carrying, extinguishing, farming, filtering, keeping, purifying, washing), made by international designers. Pride of place has been given to those projects that offer innovative solutions to the problem of water scarcity. The second section showcases some specially made items to express the primary function of water “to quench one’s thirst”. This is a series of works aimed at reinterpreting the archetypical shape of the jars according to the different issues and needs of the designers’ countries of origin, with a particular focus on local manufacturing, traditional techniques and materials.

Ambassador Salzano continued, “The items of these designers, even if inspired by different - although very close - cultures, traditions, languages and skills, are able to build a weft of reflections which celebrates the binding, cohesive nature of water for those countries that, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Gulf region, present a great variety of values and cultural identities”.

Mr. Ali Al Kuwari, Acting CEO Msheireb properties said: “Msheireb Properties, a developer of one of the most Sustainable City Districts in the World, is proud to be part of this cultural and artistic event and host such an exhibition at Msheireb Enrichment Centre, the landmark destination created by Msheireb Properties that serves as an educational portal, showcasing Qatar’s glorious past and soaring ambitions for the future. It is the perfect place for cultural exchange that builds connections between people and civilisations. We thank the Italian Embassy in Doha for their effort and curating this artistic exhibition to the people in Qatar, and look forward for more collaboration.”

The number of countries represented in the exhibition is quite impressive: Italy, France, Spain, Croatia, Greece, Turkey, Tunisia, Lebanon, Jordan, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. On show is also the work of the young Qatari interior designer Shaikha Al Sulaiti. Her art piece, named “Msheireb Light”, is a symbolic representation of Qatar’s support to the concept of truth, clarity and transparency. “I realised this object by reusing a bottle from a Qatari brand, with the idea of up cycling in mind”, Shaikha Al Sulaiti explained at the opening of the exhibition. “It is composed of three materials: the Rosso Levanto marble, which reflects the colors of the flag of my country; water, which symbolizes the concept of truth; and the brass, representing the prosperity and success of Qatar. The quote in the brass comes from our national anthem. It reads: ‘Qatar will always be free – By the spirit of the loyal’”.

“Today, from Doha, we are sending out a very powerful message of cultural inclusion and openness to diversity” - concluded Ambassador Salzano. “Qatar does not close the doors to cultural exchange, to dialogue, to cooperation. Qatar is an example of inclusiveness, no matter where an art piece comes from. Culture is meant to express the best side of human beings and is a powerful means to overcome divisions”.

The exhibition “The Shapes of Water” is the first event taking place in the framework of the Qatar Sustainability Week – from October 27th to November 3rd 2018 – an initiative promoted by the Qatar Green Building Council (QGBC), under the patronage of the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, H.E. Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani. During the opening of the exhibition the director of QGBC, Eng. Meshal Al Shamari, presented the programme of activities scheduled for the Sustainability Week, which is meant to raise awareness in the public opinion on the theme of environmental sustainability.

 

The speech of the Ambassador Salzano:

Excellences,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Distinguished guests and friends,
Cari connazionali,

Buonasera, Masa al khair, good evening!

Welcome to the opening of the exhibition “The Shapes of Water”, promoted by the Embassy of Italy in Doha and La Triennale di Milano.

Let me thank first of all Eng. Ali Al Kuwari, CEO of Msheireb, our partner and host tonight, for the excellent ongoing cooperation and for welcoming us in this prestigious and inspiring venue, at the heart of the charming bay of Doha - on the water – the same element to which this exhibition is dedicated.

Here in Doha, the Embassy of Italy is implementing this year an intense cultural programme and we are ready to do more together with Qatari cultural institutions, in the fields of arts, music, museums and cultural heritage protection, in order to embrace the increased demand of Italian cultural presence in Qatar that – as H.E. Sheika Mayassa has highlighted - is growing higher and higher.

I am very proud that Doha is the first city where this special travelling exhibition is showcased, paving the way to a broader regional tour.

Let me recall that last March, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs chose Doha – and Msheireb Centre – among more than 100 capitals in the world to open the celebrations of the Italian Design Day in the World. It didn’t happen casually: this choice represents a recognition of the growing dynamism, openness and attractiveness of this city and this Country in the field of arts, design and culture.

Dear friends,

The exhibition we present today is part of a special program named “Italy, Culture and the Mediterranean”, launched by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to promote dialogue and enhance cultural exchanges within the Mediterranean, the Middle-East and the Gulf region, highlighting the extraordinary cultural variety and inputs that this part of the world has absorbed over history.

It is composed of a meaningful selection of social design projects and products dedicated to the various uses of water. By showcasing the items realized by designers of different nationalities, “The Shapes of Water” exhibition aims to presenting water as a unifying value among peoples, rather than a matter of commercial promotion or a cause of geopolitical clashes, as unfortunately often happens around the world.

More specifically, a selected group of designers were asked to create objects - common to all human societies - related to different uses of water, in order to give voice to their different cultural backgrounds and values, as well as expressing concerns and environmental challenges that their lands may face.

I want to list all the countries of origin of these very talented designers, which is something quite impressive in terms of cultural representation: Italy, France, Spain, Croatia, Greece, Turkey, Tunisia, Lebanon, Jordan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia. Among them, we have the privilege to exhibit one art piece designed by the brilliant Qatari female designer, Shaikha Al Sulaiti, whom I sincerely thank for representing the State of Qatar and contributing to this creative project. Shaikha will explain to us later the deep conceptual meaning of her extraordinary work.

Let me stress that today, from Doha, we are sending out a very powerful message of cultural inclusion and openness to diversity. Qatar does not close the doors to cultural exchange, to dialogue, to cooperation. Qatar is an example of inclusiveness, no matter where an art piece comes from. Culture is meant to express the best side of human beings and is a powerful means to overcome divisions.

In this inspiring place, surrounded by the sea, we want to celebrate water as an essential element for life, nature and humankind. It is also our way to encourage – through art and design – all initiatives that can contribute to raise awareness on the important topic of the environmental sustainability and the careful use of natural resources.

In this context, we are particularly proud that “The Shapes of Water” exhibition is the first official event taking place in the framework of the 2018 Qatar Sustainability Week. Let me thank Eng. Meshal Al Shamari, the Director of Qatar Green Building Council, for being here tonight and for recognizing the support of the Italian Embassy to local sustainability-oriented activities.

I am also pleased that Mr. Abdullah Ibrahim Al Suwaidi, Chairman of Elite Paper Recycling company – a leading example of sustainability best practices in Qatar – is here tonight. I am proud to announce that in the few coming days – in the framework of the 2018 Qatar Sustainability Week - the Embassy of Italy will sign with Elite Paper Recycling company a partnership agreement to jointly promote environmental sustainability and recycling in our own respective programs and activities.

Excellences, ladies and gentlemen, thank you all for being with us tonight and I really hope you will enjoy such a unique journey in the world of water.

Thank you


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