Posted on September 05, 2018

Qatari artist Aisha Nasser Al-Sowaidi will display new work at the prestigious London Design Biennale, taking place in the UK capital from 4-23 September 2018.

She joins some of the world’s most exciting and ambitious designers, innovators and curators – all of whom have been invited to show how design impacts our lives and influences our emotions. 40 countries, cities and territories from across the world will be represented. Al-Sowaidi’s work has been chosen as Qatar’s entry.

Her installation – entitled The State of You – is inspired by the sense of nostalgia that pervades life in a city such as Doha, which is in a process of constant, rapid reinvention. Visitors are invited to place their heads beneath seven dome-like “worlds”, each of which releases a different scented smoke. Scents of perfume, tobacco, rain and mango emanate from the domes. The domes are lined with a patterned ceramic, evoking traditional Qatari architecture, yet the outer shell is made of concrete, the dominant material used in Doha’s redevelopment. 

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Speaking from London, Aisha Nasser Al-Sowaidi, said: “The contrasting elements used in my installation represent the past and the present – the non-physical past as smoke, and the physical ‘now’ as concrete. The scents I used have an emotional significance to me as they speak of memories that have shaped my identity. I am excited to be here in London, one of the cultural capitals of the world. This is a great opportunity to the tell the story of Qatar and I thank Qatar Museums for supporting me on this incredible trip and for being a champion of our country’s arts and culture scene.”

Under the patronage of its Chairperson, Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Al-Sowaidi’s participation has been supported by Qatar Museums (QM) as part of its commitment to foster and inspire the next generation of creative talent and thinkers, not just here in Qatar, but internationally. Khalid Al Ibrahim, Chief Strategic Planning Officer at Qatar Museums, said: “Through providing international platforms of self-expression, Qatar Museums is not only nurturing the country’s future generation of creators by allowing them to expand their creative horizons, but is also helping Qatar find its voice in today’s cultural debates through the stories of its artists. We are incredibly proud of Aisha’s journey and are looking forward to seeing her artworks showcased in other art capitals of the world.”

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Aisha Al-Sowaidi is a multidisciplinary designer based in Doha.  Her designs reflect on an ever changing and fast developing Qatar. Her work incorporates old experiences and behaviors with contemporary designs inspired by household objects to maintain a feeling of familiarity. Her designs tackle memories, nostalgia, and traces of time. In 2016, Aisha Al-Sowaidi was part of the Fire Station’s first Artist in Residence exhibition. Her piece titled ‘Remembrance of a Majlis’, embodied memories and showcased how they shift and change from what people see in the present, to what they remember in the future. Last year, she joined a number of her peers at the largest exhibition of Qatari contemporary art to open in Berlin, as part of Qatar Germany 2017.

She holds an MFA in Design Studies and a BA in Graphic Design. One of the highlights of the global design calendar, London Design Biennale takes place at Somerset House in central London. Through their installations, participants from six continents will respond to this year’s theme – ‘Emotional States’ – which will investigate the important relationship between design, strong emotional responses and real social needs.

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