Zwara: Focus on Forever Valentino Exhibition
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Zwara: Focus on Forever Valentino Exhibition displays the collections of the thirteen Qatar-based designers who have taken part in the 3d edition of the Zwara Programme. The show is being staged at M7, a creative hub in Msheireb Downtown Doha, Qatar, and will end on 10 September 2023.

Held yearly, the Zwara Programme gives creatives from Qatar the opportunity to learn from global and local design experts. With a different topic chosen each year, it invites participants to explore exhibitions, archives, and collections, and then respond to a design brief. This year’s edition of the Programme is inspired by the Forever Valentino show held in 2022 and hosted by M7. It paid tribute to Maison Valentino’s founder, Valentino Garavani, and featured more than 200 Valentino Haute Couture pieces and prêt-à-porter outfits.

The participants of this year’s Programme edition were selected across different design disciplines and paired into six groups. Their task was to examine the conversations occurring between fashion and other design disciplines and explore these in their own work. Getting inspiration from the Forever Valentino exhibition mentioned above and using the brand’s legacy and values, the groups created designs which combined their practices and reflected their own heritage and values. The participants attended a series of exclusive exhibition curated tours and workshops by M7. They also had an opportunity to take part in a short programme led by the Valentino team at their Atelier in Rome. The designers visited the Ateliers and Historical Archive and were given a brief about Valentino’s journey.

The list of the participants

1. Rabab Abdulla, a material researcher and fashion and product designer. Her works are inspired by the culture and heritage of her native Doha. Among her notable creations is the Battoulah Bioplastic collection of wearable face coverings made from bioplastics, borrowing patterns from Qatari architecture.

2. Alaa Albarazy, an architect, educator, researcher, and urban and XR designer whose work is all about integrating emerging technologies into sensory design applications. He has successfully contributed to multiple projects at the intersection of technology, art, and science.

Rabab Abdulla and Alaa Albarazy, “I Feel”. M7, Msheireb Downtown Doha, Qatar, 2023.

3. Surabhi Gaikwad, an artist. For her oil paintings, she chooses those themes which “bring visual pleasure to the spectator”. She paints portraits and depicts flora and fauna.

4. Sonali Raman, a designer who has been in the fashion business for over 28 years. She has her own fashion brand producing handcrafted jewellery, using traditional craft techniques in contemporary designs. It also offers fashion ready-to-wear made using traditional embroidery techniques.

5. Maryam Al Suwaidi, a product designer influenced by conceptualism. She analyses and employs various aspects of human evolution of cultural representations and expressions to form visuals of metaphors or iconologies and establish conceptually layered installations.

Maryam Al Suwaidi, Haima’ armchair for FROMM.

6. Mohammed Al Suwaidi, an architect, animator, and designer whose practice features the use of digital fabrication tools (3D printing, laser cutting, and others) and simulation data. In his work, he explores the development and emotion of the individual in opposition to the wider urban context.

7. Nia Alexander Campbell, an artist, designer, writer, and educator. She explores how collage, writing, and traditional and digital painting methods can be used to tell stories through design. The themes she focuses on in her work are inclusion and sharing the experiences of marginalszed communities.

8. Maha Al Mahsana, a fashion designer.

Nia Alexander Campbell and Maha Al Mahsana, “Nature’s Pride”. M7, Msheireb Downtown Doha, Qatar, 2023.

9. Tamader Al Sultan, a fashion designer.

10. Amna Al Baker, a multidisciplinary artist and filmmaker with a hybrid Qatari, Indian, and Persian background. In her art, she mostly addresses such themes as identity, mental health issues, and women’s rights.

11. Farjana Salahuddin, a multidisciplinary artist and designer who transforms spaces and objects to interactive and immersive experiences. Her experiential works are at the intersection of technology and art.

12. Fatima Al Sharshani, a calligraphy and calligraffiti artist. She has been honing her art penmanship since 2011, when she discovered that Arab calligraphy was her passion. Her art is inspired by “poetry, nature and sometimes discussions”. The artist has her own studio named Qaif which provides calligraphy services in Arabic, fine arts, and conceptual arts.

Fatima Al-Sharshani, Roundel Golden Circle with Arabic Calligraphy. Post Office Park. Courtesy of Qatar Museums, 2020.

13. Dana Al Mulla, a fashion designer who has her own brand MOTIF. It is inspired by her grandmother, from whom she learned the basics of sewing. In her Henna series of garments is “a link between cultural and modern designs translating cultural themes into modern motifs.”

To learn more about Zwara: Focus on Forever Valentino Exhibition, please visit its official web page.

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