Children have a unique, pure vision of the world around them. When they express their individual perspectives using their rich, untapped artistic talents, a glowing imagination emerges, expressing fresh insight and brimming with creativity and innovation.
Those who have recently visited Qatar National Library would have seen more than 30 canvases painted in acrylic colors, created by the fingertips of children who participated in a number of art workshops organized by the Library. These were run by an elite group of Qatari artists as mentors including Fatima Al-Nesf, Dana Safar, and many others.
Last October, Qatar National Library launched the Children's Art Display 'Reesha', which highlights the artistic talents inherent in this promising generation of students. Organizing this student art display is part of the Library’s role as a cultural institution which devotes its utmost effort to promoting imagination, nurturing creativity, unlocking talents and developing skills, with the aim of encouraging children to showcase their artistic talents to patrons and visitors.
About this exhibition, Hind Al Khulaifi, Manager of Children's and Young Adults' Library, says: “We firmly believe that the Library’s role is not limited to giving access to books and spreading the culture of reading among the young, but also includes developing a balanced personality for children, enhancing their talents and encouraging them to express their ideas and visions in a variety of ways, whether in writing, public speaking, or artistic creativity."
"These art workshops were an ideal opportunity for participating students to hone their artistic skills under the guidance of an elite group of Qatari artists. The result was a unique collection of paintings rich in meanings and connotations about the character of Qatar, its features and its most beautiful aspects. We now have a new promising generation of artists and we are looking forward to more artistic expressions in the near future," Hind Al Khulaifi added.
"The aim of the art display is to connect children with their cultural identity, boost their sense of belonging, and unleash their artistic and creative imagination," says Nour Mohamed, a Children’s librarian and the exhibition curator. “Young people’s contributions were varied and reflected their diverse creativity through paintings which combined the past and the present. Children's talents have been unleashed and manifested themselves on canvas paintings with their spontaneous drawings. Perhaps the most beautiful description of this display is ‘Qatar in the eyes of its children’.”
Noor Muhammad added: “Each student became immersed in their imagination and creativity. Some of them imagined Qatar as a mother with jewelry and gold on the hands of her daughters. Others painted the falcon, symbol of Arab and Qatari identity. Qatar’s glorious past and heritage was depicted as a modern lighthouse on Doha's towering buildings. Each drawing expressed a focused and deep perspective that forms a bigger image of Qatar in the eyes of our children and their creative pens. The guided art workshops were very successful in enhancing children's abilities of expression through drawing.”
Dana Al Safar, one of the mentoring artists participating in the exhibition’s workshops, said: “Art is a mirror of nations that reflects our progress, development, culture and ambition for all the world to see. This is what our government has aspired to achieve in the past and the present through their efforts that sponsored and supported arts as in all its forms. Pablo Picasso once said: ‘Everything you can imagine is real’ - the seed of creativity begins with an imagination which has no limits. No one has a rich and fertile imagination similar to children.”
Dana Al Safar also said: “In Reesha’s art workshops, I supervised a group of female students from primary schools who sketched various paintings for the landmarks of our beloved Qatar, along with its history, civilization, heritage and future. I collaborated with those little fingertips to create streaks and splashes of color on the canvas. I am proud of the efforts of these talented students and their supervisors whose spirits were reflected in the student's performance. I would like to thank Qatar National Library’s management for their efforts in organizing and preparing the excellent workshops and exhibition."
From her side, artist Fatima Nesf said: "The choice of color is necessary, regardless of the means of expression, whether this art expresses something visual, sensory, auditory, or even a performance. The work of art should be the subject of expression and appreciation for its beauty and strength. This is what I found in the Reesha art workshops at Qatar National Library with my dear students. I would like to thank Qatar National Library for this unique experience with them."
Rehab Muhammad, Art Education Teacher at Omar bin Al Khattab First School for Boys, commented: “We were pleased with the participation of our young creators in the Student Art Display 'Reesha', which shed light on our beloved country, between the past and the present. This exhibition contributed to enhancing our students' cultural identity and creative talents in line with the principle of community partnership between the school and our cultural national edifice, Qatar National Library."
Among the students, Khalifa Musa, a student at Omar Ibn Al-Khattab School, said: “I grew up and saw my mother drawing, painting and doing handicrafts, which unleashed my passion and love for the art of drawing. Cooperating with my classmates, I participated in the art display and spent my time in my favorite place drawing on weekdays. It was a unique experience, and it had a positive impact on my personality. I hope to take part once again in this exchange of ideas and to learn something new."
Hassan Ahmad Al-Ansari, a student at Omar bin Al-Khattab School, said: “I was particularly excited for being chosen as a participant in Reesha art workshops because I love drawing. My friends and I discovered a landmark from our beloved country, and I learned to paint the houses and ancient monuments. I drew the interior of an old house. I also drew some household pots and containers and enjoyed this artistic journey which was beautiful and fruitful."
From Moaz Bin Jabal Primary School for Boys, Ibrahim Mahjoub Ahmed Idris, Visual Arts Coordinator, commented: "There is no doubt that art has an effect on soul and conscience, which is reflected in the practical and personal life. Art is one of the best means for educating young people, as it works to revive societal taste and build a generation capable of facing difficulties and challenges. We saw and touched this in the distinguished art display, Reesha, which provided us with a distinctive and wonderful experience sponsored and organized by Qatar National Library. We would like to express our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to them for facilitating this display in the field of arts."
Aisha Al-Jaber, supervisor and visual arts coordinator at Riffa Primary School for Girls, noted that the talented students had benefited from the workshop, Qatar in the Past and the Present, delivered by the Qatari artist Dana Al-Safar, which the Library hosted, and had a positive impact on the students' hearts. She said, "We were pleased to contribute some paintings which were well-received by the public. I would like to extend my sincere thanks and gratitude to Qatar National Library, especially Ms. Noor Muhammad, the curator of the exhibition and art workshops."
The exhibition also included paintings by male and female students from several other schools, namely Khawla Bint Al-Azwar Primary School for Girls, Al-Bayan Al-Oula School for Girls, Taiba Model Independent School and Abdullah bin Zaid School