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Three continents, one border
by Muhammad Yusuf October 01, 2014
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Twelve winners from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom, who were selected for their original and imaginative responses to this year’s Create & Inspire competition theme ‘The World is not Black & White’ organised by the Crossway Foundation in partnership with Art Jameel and Qatar Museums and supported by Saudi Aramco, the British Council and Etihad Airways, completed their journey to Brazil, arranged in recognition of their artistic talent and creative potential (Aug. 31 – Sept. 15).    

The winners were: Ghassan Alharbi, Mansour Albadran, Mawadah Muhtasib (Saudi Arabia); Maryam Al-Essa, Emelina Soares, Ayaz Rauf (Qatar); Nasser Al Zayani, Tulip Hazbar, Hala Makhlouf (UAE) and Hayley Konadu, Alisha McCarthy and Faraz Fahd Khan (UK).

It was, from all accounts, a creative adventure of a lifetime, which allowed them experience one of the most colourful cultures in the world.  In Brazil, the winning team explored the country’s vibrant landscape and creative scene by collaborating with local arts and social organisations in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Brumadinho and Salvador, to develop the key skills of leadership, communication and creativity.

A total of 35 promising young artists from the Gulf and the UK were shortlisted from hundreds of entries and interviewed by panels of industry experts. Judging interviews took place in five cities: Jeddah, Riyadh, Doha, Dubai and London.

“We’re proud to see so many talented young artists emerge from this competition. Partnering with initiatives such as Create & Inspire lies at the very heart of what Art Jameel believes in: fostering young artists’ careers; encouraging them to develop their talents by exposing them to new experiences; and empowering them to share what they have learnt in order to enrich their communities back home”, said Fady Jameel, President of Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives (ALJCI) International.

Speaking about Create & Inspire 2014, Director of the Office of Strategic Cultural Relations at Qatar Museums, Safiya Saif Al Hajari said: “This initiative supports emerging talent by taking the cultural experience beyond the four walls of a museum. We are pleased to be working in partnership with the Crossway Foundation to act as a cultural instigator for the creation generation”.

Adnan Manjal, Director of Saudi Art Guide, and a judge of this year’s competition, said: “The Crossway Foundation is to be recognised for its efforts in bridging the cultural gaps between East and West. Through their open call competitions, they have unearthed some of the region’s up-and-coming talents, and provided nurturing opportunities for these young artists”.

Create & Inspire is an initiative launched by the Crossway Foundation in 2010. It identifies and nurtures young creative talent introducing them to a world of cultural opportunities without boundaries. This year’s competition was open to 16-25 year old nationals and residents of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.

Art Jameel is one of Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives (ALJCI). It aims to foster and promote a thriving arts scene within the MENAT (Middle East North Africa Turkey) region and to support the development of creative enterprises. In partnership with art organisations worldwide, Art Jameel develops cultural exchange programmes to encourage networking and knowledge sharing.

Qatar Museums, under the patronage of His Highness the Emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani and led by its Chairperson, Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, is consolidating Qatar’s efforts to become a vibrant centre for the arts, culture and education, in the Middle East and beyond.

2014 has been declared the Qatar Brazil Year of Culture. It is a year-long cultural exchange programme dedicated to connecting people in the State of Qatar and the Federal Republic of Brazil through culture, community, and sport. Through innovative cultural exchange activities, individuals and institutions in both countries are expected to create lasting partnerships and strengthen bilateral relations.
Qatar Brazil 2014 is held under the patronage of Qatar Museum’s Chairperson, Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, in partnership with Qatar’s Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage. It is the third consecutive Year of Culture launched by Qatar Museums, following the successes of Qatar Japan 2012 and Qatar UK 2013.

Saudi Aramco’s King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture is a monumental undertaking to inspire, nurture and promote creativity, learning and cross-cultural engagement throughout Saudi Arabia.

The British Council is a Royal Charter charity, established as the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. Its 7,000 staff in over 100 countries, work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year through English, arts, education and society programmes.

Etihad Airways began operations in 2003, and in 2013, carried 11.5 million passengers. From its Abu Dhabi base, it flies to 108 existing or announced passenger and cargo destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas.

The Crossway Foundation was founded by a group of artists who believed in the power of journeys to inspire better understanding and collaboration across borders, and to release the world-changing potential of young creatives.

The original journey took place in 2002, when Crossway Foundation CEO and Founder, Stephen Stapleton, made his own trip across the Middle East along with three other artists. “A belief in the power of experiencing the world first-hand underpins all of our work to this day”, he says.

The foundation was founded by a group of artists who had faith in the power of journeys to inspire better understanding and collaboration across borders, and to release the world-changing potential of young creatives.
The foundation’s travel and exchange programme for young artists was launched in 2007, and has since supported over 100 hundred young people from 13 countries to explore each other’s worlds first-hand.

In 2011, it was registered as a charity with the following objectives: to connect young people across geographical, generational, racial, religious, economic or political borders and to promote creative collaboration and better understanding around the world, with a special focus on young artists in the Middle East, UK and the Americas.

* Saudi Arabia, Jeddah
Adnan Manjal, Director and Co-Founder, Saudi Art Guide
Marriam Mossalli, Consultant, Niche Arabia
Raneem Farsi, Curator, 21:39 Jeddah Arts
Imogen Ware, Managing Director, Crossway Foundation

* Riyadh
Mary Teeling, Curator, Alaan Artspace
Tala Saleh, Founder and Creative Director, The Studio Upstairs
Lamya AlRashed, Founder and Director, Lam Art Gallery
Imogen Ware, Managing Director, Crossway Foundation

* Qatar
Thalia Kennedy, Deputy Director, Education, Museum of Islamic Art
Khalid Albaih, Artist
Khalifa Al Obaidly, Director, Msheireb Art Centre
Jack Thomas Taylor, Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder, Alef Magazine
Imogen Ware, Managing Director, Crossway Foundation

* United Arab Emirates
Anabelle de Gersigny, Strategy and Partnership Development Manager, Tashkeel
Giuseppe Moscatello, Curator, Maraya Art Centre
eL Seed, Artist
Imogen Ware, Managing Director, Crossway Foundation

* United Kingdom
Fabiane Lee Perella, Artist, Designer and Lecturer at Camberwell College of Art
Ali MacGilp, Writer and Curator
Nur El Shami, Founder and Director, ArtiCurate
Imogen Ware, Managing Director, Crossway Foundation

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