St. Petersburg Cultural Forum: Guests from Qatar

by Elena on November 16, 2018

St. Petersburg International Cultural Forum is a unique cultural event of the world level, a discussion platform, which attracts annually several thousand cultural experts from all over the world: the stars of the drama theater, opera and ballet, outstanding directors and musicians, public figures, representatives of government and business, the academic community.

The forum is held by the Government of St. Petersburg with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. It is aimed at preserving and developing Russian culture, support of cultural initiatives at the regional, federal and international levels, development of international cooperation in the field of culture.

The forum is developing in parallel in three directions. Extensive business program is of interest to specialists in various fields of culture. The festival program includes numerous cultural events for residents and guests of St. Petersburg. Business site creates conditions for implementation projects and signing agreements in the field of culture. This year’s Forum guest countries are Italy & Qatar.

On November 14, Central Exhibition Hall Manege hosted the formal opening of Russia’s first exhibition of contemporary art of Qatar. The exposition will be open for general public from November 19 to December 10, 2018, and for the Forum participants – from November 15.

Exhibition “Modern Qatar: Art and Photography” is associated with the Qatar-Russia Cross Year of Culture 2018. The exhibition will introduce the inhabitants and guests of Saint Petersburg to the modern fine arts tradition of Qatar. The exposition is organized in cooperation with Qatar Museums, the School of Arts at the University of Virginia in Qatar and the Doha Film Institute “Made in Qatar” exhibition.

“It is a great honor for us to be present in the event associated with opening of VII Saint Petersburg International Cultural Forum. The Forum is rightfully acclaimed as one of the most important and significant cultural events worldwide. We see a great number of participants arriving at the Forum from all six continents and proudly bear the name of the Guest Country. Particularly, in scope of the program “Qatar — Guest Country” we have brought the works of outstanding photographers and contemporary artists. 

I would like to emphasize that the year of 2018 is especially important for us: it has become the Cross Year of Culture between Russia and Qatar. 32 events have been organized by efforts of the two countries in order to learn about each other’s culture. I am overjoyed to see the interest of the Russian media in these events,” said His Excellency Fahad Bin Mohammed Al-Attiya, Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the Russian Federation, at the press conference before the exhibition’s opening.

“For Saint Petersburg, the East has an air of a very special kind of romanticism: we are passionate and curious about what’s happening in the East, and these are not idle words. We are very happy that in scope of the VII Saint Petersburg International Cultural Forum there is an opportunity to open this exhibition and welcome such distinguished guests. We’d most like if, apart from being successful and appreciated by Saint Petersburg inhabitants, the exhibition helped them learn about Qatar, whereas the Forum’s guests would enjoy the city, feel our kind disposition and realize that our countries, despite the great distance between them, are very close due to the many human values that we share, common understanding of the current processes, and our warm relationship,” said the Chairman of Saint Petersburg Committee for Culture Konstantin Sukhenko at the press conference before the exhibition’s opening.

The exhibition analyses rapid social and urban transformations the state is experiencing today. The visitors will see the works by over 50 talented painters and photographers. For the exhibition, more than 150 paintings and 370 photographs have been purposely delivered from Qatar Museums. The exposition in itself represents a detailed study of what consequences can spring from the dynamic changes in the society and mentality of Qatar citizens.

The exhibition is dedicated to a variety of issues related to the topical modern challenges. So, one of the topics looks into the constant tension between generally accepted designations and establishment of new artistic practices. Besides, the exposition reflects the growing influence of digital technology and automated processes on art in particular and Qatar society in general.

Rapid changes that the country is undergoing nowadays entail unprecedented creative opportunities for photographers. On top of capturing the ongoing events, they contribute to the transformation of the nation’s visual identity. A standalone section of the exhibition includes works by contemporary Qatar photographers, along with photographs provided by Qatar Museums in scope of the program of the Cross Year of Culture, and similar shots from other collections. The exposition that became the platform for aspiring masters will acquaint the viewers with the extensive collection of Qatar Museums and establish a special role of photography in the process of strengthening the cultural ties between the countries.

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