Various Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture initiatives and activities received positive reactions across the US, highlighting the continuous cultural exchange and further strengthening of relations between the two countries, US embassy in Doha charge d’affaires Natalie A Baker has said.
“They promote awareness and education about each other’s cultures and history, now we are seeing that we’re having museum exchanges,” the envoy said, noting that some museums from different states in the US such as California, Washington DC, New York, and Mississippi are expected to visit Doha and hold discussions with Qatar Museums.
“The reception has been very positive and this is great in the leading up to the World Cup because we expect to have many US fans come out for the 2022 World Cup in Doha,” she added.
Part of the Year of Culture programme in the US included Calli-graffiti (held throughout 2021 from Jersey City to different cities), a multi-city installation of street art that blends calligraphy and the Arabic language, as inspired by French-Tunisian artist eL Seed; Dessert Recipe Tradeoff (Spring 2021), chefs from both countries were challenged to make traditional desserts from the US and Qatar; Pearls of Wonder (Fall 2021), a pop-up exhibition in New York City featured works by Qatari artists inspired by the history of the pearling industry in Qatar; Desert Drive-In Cultural Exchange (Fall 2021) outside of Los Angeles at Hummingbird Ranch, a film screening programme inspired by the rich history of nomadic Bedouin culture where guests got the chance to enjoy films in an outdoor desert-like environment; Desert Racing (Fall/Winter 2021), a unique experience underlining the shared love of car racing in both Qatar and the US through a series of races featuring Qatari and American drivers; and Made in Qatar (November 2021), a screening event showcased the works of Qatari filmmakers and accompanied talks at the Qatar America Institute for Culture in Washington, DC, among others.
The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art in Washington DC, and the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) in Doha also collaborated in holding an exhibition of exceptional textiles from the collection of MIA in Washington.
“We are very proud of all the activities that occurred in our Year of Culture from the beginning of 2021. Even up until now we’ve been celebrating all aspects of our cultures both here in Doha but also across cities in the US.
“That included food festivals, we had musical exchanges, we had different speakers come from all cultural backgrounds, including music and arts, we had fashion designers focused on sustainable fashion design in apparel, again they visited here some of the beautiful cultural Qatar museums such as Katara, they went to Msheireb, and then in the US we had activities everywhere from New York to Los Angeles, across the coasts,” Baker said.
She stressed that the relations between Qatar and the US “are stronger than ever”, and different activities will be taking place this year as it marks the 20th anniversary of the US mission in Doha.
“We are pleased to be here and we look forward to additional cultural exchanges and events throughout the year,” the envoy said.