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Opening of the the exhibition “Magnificent Cultures” by the Italian artist Luigi Ballarin

The Embassy of Italy in Doha and the Cultural Village Foundation – Katara have organized, in cooperation with the Italian Gallery Medina, the exhibition “Magnificent Cultures” by the Italian artist Luigi Ballarin with curatorship by Beste Gürsu International Art Consultancy. The exhibition will be opened on Saturday, January 18th, at 7:00 pm, at Katara (Building 18, Gallery 2), at the presence of the recently appointed Ambassador of Italy, H.E. Alessandro Prunas, and it will be on display until January 29th.

In office since last January 5th, Ambassador Prunas says “I am really thankful for the warm welcome which I have received by the Qatari Authorities upon my arrival in Doha and by the people I have met so far. I feel honoured to serve Italy in such a dynamic Country and I am committed to contribute to further strengthen the bilateral cooperation in all fields, including culture. Indeed, cultural relations will continue to be a priority for both Italy and Qatar. In this fruitful context of intense exchange, I am very pleased to open the cultural activities promoted by the Embassy of Italy in 2020 with the solo exhibition of Luigi Ballarin, an Italian painter from Venice who has extensively travelled the Middle East region, where he found the inspiration to shape his art. Ballarin recalls the figure of the Italian explorers and itinerant artists of the past, who used to embark on long journeys to far lands in order to discover
great civilizations, their values and traditions”.

Born in Venice in 1959 and now based in Istanbul, Luigi Ballarin moved for the first time to the Middle East in 1996, when he decided to settle in Saudi Arabia with frequent travels to Kuwait and UAE. This trip was quite influential to his life and contributed to shape his artistic creativity. “After visiting the countries of the Arabian Peninsula – says Luigi Ballarin – I just wanted to turn my life upside down and live there. A mysterious world, which goes far beyond what it looks like, as if the lights of the sky carried me beyond the blue”.

“The knowledge he gained while establishing bridges between East and West – says Beste Gürsu, the art curator of the exhibition – is shown in rich admiration of the nature, which is dominant in his life and art, together with the values of social justice and dialogue between cultures”.

The collection on display – composed of 34 paintings – reveals the introspective vision of the artist on the Islamic world by presenting cultural symbols, architectural elements, fascinating landscapes and characters expressed through an abstract artistic language, enriched by bright and vibrant colors. As some Italian art critics wrote about Luigi Ballarin, his interpretation goes far beyond the concept of contemporary Orientalism and refuses any excessive exotic folklore. The Italian painter owns in fact a unique artistic code, which is accurate, intense and evocative at the same time, and has the great merit to capture the attention and the emotions of
the audience. Through the painted outlines of domes and mosques on the horizon, the vast deserts and the figures of horses combined with the patterns of tiles, Luigi Ballarin aims to share his extraordinary life experience and build cultural bonds between East and West.

“We really look forward – concludes Ambassador Prunas – to welcome everybody to the opening of this special exhibition, which will take the visitors on an intense journey to fascinating lands, as seen from the perspective of an Italian travelling painter. By supporting culture and art, Italy and Qatar have taken a path of cooperation and sharing in order to encourage dialogue, increase contacts and promote cultural exchanges. I am confident that many more collaborations in the cultural field can be achieved soon by our Countries”.