Strange Wonders vol. II
From September 28, 2016 to January 26, 2017
September 28, 2016 at 6pm
Maryam Al-Homaid, Michael Perrone and Ryan Browning
Annette Wendling-Willeke, Corinna Seto, Fleming Jeffries, Hadeer Omar, Nagiya Moideen, Nathan Ross Davis, Othman M. R. Khunji, Sara Al-Buainain, Shaikha Al-Mahmoud, Dr. Thomas Modeen
The Company House, Msheireb Museum
Initiated and funded by
Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar), in conjunction with Msheireb Properties, officially launched the Strange Wonders vol. II exhibition at Company House, one of the four heritage houses within Msheireb
The Strange Wonders exhibit represents a culmination of the artistic journey of the students, alumni and university faculty of VCUarts Qatar. The juried exhibition curated by Maryam Al-Homaid, Michael Perrone and Ryan Browning aims to portray the inner core of innovation running throughout a structure of generations.
This year’s exhibition was inspired by a vision set forth by Qatar’s new cultural icon, Msheireb Museums, which mandated that the works of art presented in Strange Wonders vol. II derive from a theme of pioneering innovation, industrial development and growth and advancement. This creative guideline is in keeping with the mission of Company House as the premier cultural showcase for the pioneers of the discovery of oil and the modernization of Qatar.
By Maryam Al-Homaid, Michael Perrone and Ryan Browning
The title Strange Wonders is based on a direct quotation from one of the original Qatari oil pioneers, Thamir Muftah.
“Thamir spent his youth at sea with the pearl-fishing fleet… [and] was one of many young Qataris who began working with the Company. Starting as a coolie within the store, he was transferred to the harbor, where he carried heavy goods from the boats to lorries and warehouses. He worked tirelessly, undertaking backbreaking and relentlessly monotonous work. […]
Working for the oil company brought with it a host of new and exciting experiences. Thamir Muftah recalled that ‘we were seeing so many things of the like of which we had never even imagined. Colored tins, pineapples, pears, oranges, all kinds of strange wonders”.
Upon the unveiling of the Strange Wonders, one experiences the fusion of three eras: the past, present, and future. Strange Wonders aims to portray the inner core of innovation running throughout a structure of generations. It brings together unique, intergenerational mindsets, ranging from the students and professors of VCUarts Qatar, to its alumni and staff, and demonstrates an evolution of a creative industry. Our vision is to encapsulate this exceptional union of multidisciplinary interactive mediums under one roof.
Biographies - Curators
Maryam Al-Homaid is an interdisciplinary designer holding a Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Design from VCUarts Qatar. She is a member of VCUarts Qatar’s Graphic Design faculty.
Maryam Al-Homaid comes from a family where her father is an artist and both grandfathers were makers and craftsmen. Her curiosity and exploration of design grew from a personal interest in Prototyping and Making.
She believes that by pursuing the maker movement, a recently revived revolution that mixes technology based-mediums and the DIY culture, that bridges can be built between the high-tech mediums that exist today and the lost crafts that once existed in the Middle East, and more specifically the Arabian Gulf.
Her interest revolves around the concept of documenting today’s changing phenomena within the context of the Arabian Khaleej and Qatar in particular. She mixes physical mediums with digital techniques to create a series of installations and products that communicates the concept of change.
Michael Perrone is an American painter originally from Jersey City, New Jersey. He graduated from Muhlenberg College with a degree in Russian Studies and Political Science in 1989. He went on to study painting and art education at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts – Boston, and in 2004 received an MFA in Painting from the University of Pennsylvania. In 2006 he mounted his first solo show: Home and Away, at Michael Steinberg Fine Art in New York. Perrone’s work has appeared in: The New Yorker, Elle Decor, O at Home, and Time Out New York. The Last Picture Show, exhibited in 2008, was Perrone’s second solo exhibition at Michael Steinberg Fine Art.
Ryan Browning is a faculty member in the Foundations Department of VCUarts Qatar, where he has taught the First Year Incubator course, in addition to teaching Physical Computing courses in the MFA program, since 2013. He is a painter and interdisciplinary artist, and has exhibited widely in the United States and internationally.
Biographies - Artists and Designers
Annette Wendling-Willeke has lived and worked as an Interior Architect in Germany, Australia, Sri Lanka and Qatar, and was running her own Interior Design Studio in Sri Lanka. She founded the Interior Design Program at the Academy of Design Colombo, Sri Lanka, and held the position of Principal and Interior Design Faculty Head for several years. She is the Outreach and Community Class Manager at VCUarts Qatar.
She is an active painter who regularly exhibits her work with International Artists Doha (IAD) and the Qatar Fine Arts Society (QFAS), and is a member of both groups.
Corinna Seto was born in New York City in 1993. She predominantly works in the medium of painting, creating work based on observation and perception. She graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting + Printmaking in the spring of 2016, and studied abroad at VCUarts Qatar in the fall 2015. She lives and works in San Diego, California. Strange Wonders is her first international exhibition.
Fleming Jeffries is a visual artist who explores the intertidal zone between humans and the natural world.
Her work relies on drawing, printmaking, and heavy process as a means to slow down the mind’s eye. Jeffries’ work has been shown in the US and internationally, including the New Prints Program at the International Print Center New York (Autumn 2015).
She has been awarded numerous grants and awards, including the Winter Fellowship at the Fine Art Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. She received an MFA in Printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design and completed the Printer Training Program at the Tamarind Institute of Lithography in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is currently on the Painting and Printmaking faculty at VCUarts Qatar.
Hadeer Omar is a visual communicator, independent filmmaker and an entrepreneur with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design from VCUarts Qatar. She founded an online studio called Kroki Design Studio in 2012.
She graduated with a Masters of Fine Art degree in Design from VCUarts Qatar in 2016. Her thesis questions globalization as an action and culture hacking as a reaction in a specific context.
Her training experience gives her the unique ability to apply design thinking, in all its forms, to visual processes. Some of her graphics process knowledge and experience includes commercials, social design, photography, film, digital art and mixed media. She represents her identity through her work. She enjoys manipulating mediums to emphasize the story behind each piece of her work.
Nagiya Moideen is a formalist artist originally from India who has settled in Qatar. She is currently enrolled at VCUarts Qatar and is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts in Painting and Printmaking.
Her work relies on Polaroid photographs, photo-grams, layering, the re-scanning of images and painting to create one work of art. Each process is an ongoing conversation in discovering shapes and searching to simplify the composition until it conveys a satisfactory message to her mind.
The colors in her work are used as a language and abstraction as a form to express her language.
In 2015 she exhibited her work in a group show, WE’RE IN THE SAME ROOM, which was conducted by VCUarts Qatar seniors at the Katara Art Center in Doha. House of Sweden, which exhibited in 2016, was her second group show at the HBKU Student Center.
Nathan Ross Davis earned an MFA in Design at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco after studying sculpture at Oregon State. He began teaching at Ohio University and then Montana State University before coming to VCUarts Qatar. Working between the fields of fine art and design, his personal projects embrace the potential of open and experimental visual exploration while applying the language and systems of design.
In addition to his activity as a researcher and design educator, he continues professional design practice through Arcadian Studio, a design studio and consultancy with his partner Jennifer Davis. His design work has appeared in Print Magazine, Graphis, Under Consideration’s FPO Awards, Design Boom and Creative Quarterly.
Othman M. R. Khunji is an interdisciplinary designer from Bahrain, based in Qatar. His work ranges between the fields of interior, fashion, product and interactive installation design. His particular area of interest is social behaviors within the Gulf region, triangulating how relationships between religion, culture, and society can be expressed through the language of design. Whether educational or critical, evocative or reminiscent, these interactive experiences aim to provoke thought and invite a re-imagination of our current contemporary lifestyles.
His Masters of Fine Arts degree in Design from VCUarts Qatar resulted in his latest publication: RITUALS, Our Past, Present & Future. Glimpses of Islamic Enrichment’ and the birth of it’s collection: The Five Pillars of Islam. Living between Bahrain, Dubai, Colombia and Qatar, Othman Khunji has gained wide knowledge of various international destinations and their unique languages of design. As an extrovert chameleon, he has worked with organizations such as Studio Banana, VCUarts Qatar, French House Design, The Doha Fire Station, and Qatar TV.
Sara Al-Buainain is currently studying Painting and Printmaking at VCUarts Qatar. Her work is very contemporary and she believes that art should be an interaction between the artist and the medium. Identity – both individual and cultural – was always a very important concept to her as an artist. The forms of art she most identifies with are painting, printmaking and photography.
Shaikha Al-Mahmoud is an Interior Designer. She graduated from VCUarts Qatar in 2003 and obtained a Master of Fine Arts (MFA in Design) in 2015 from VCUarts Qatar with a focus on a contemporary interpretation of traditional Qatari architectural virtues.
She held the position of Interior Designer at Qatar’s Ministry of Economy and Commerce in 2005, and the position of Junior Architect at the Doha Asian Games Organizing Committee (DAGOC) from 2005 to 2007. She joined Qatar Foundation’s Capital Projects Directorate in 2007 and is currently leading the Interior Design team as Interior Design Manager.
Dr. Thomas Modeen is a Finnish Architect, Designer, and Academic interested in exploring, designing and realizing concepts, artifacts, spaces and environments intended for various uses, contexts, and praxis at a variety of scales, degrees of complexity, and ambition.
He is the founder (along with his wife Maysaa Almumin) of the design and architecture firm Architects Independent, and an Associate Professor in the MFA Graduate Department at VCUarts Qatar.
He studied Product and Furniture Design at the Parsons School of Design in New York (BFA), received an architectural degree from the Architectural Association School of Architecture (AA-Dipl.) and obtained a research degree from the Royal College of Art (M.Phil.-RCA) – both in London. He also attained a PhD from the Additive Manufacturing Research Group (AMRG) at Loughborough University in the UK, exploring the use of 3D-printing in the context of design and architecture.