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Qatari Artist Completes Calligraphic Mural in Portland

Taking Jedariart, the local street art promotion, to the next step, Qatar Museums in partnership with the Portland Street Art Alliance (PSAA), featured Qatari artist Fatima Al-Sharshani’s mural art on a building in Portland.

Fatima Al Sharshani has painted a new mural on a building wall located at 636 SE 10th Ave within the Central Eastside Industrial District of Portland. The featured work,  titled “The Never-Ending You” is an expression of continuity and infinity. Fatima has been working in calligraphy art since 2011and is the founder of Qaif, a calligraphy company. The “Never-Ending You” is an abstract piece that merges Arabic letters into a shape of a circle, representing continuity. The inner depth of the circle is a sensory expression that sparks a notion of infinity and the depth of power that lives within us.

Similar to JEDARIART, the Portland Street Art Alliance was created to advance street art culture and empower artists to activate the spaces where they live and work. Fatima’s artwork will be a part of a larger programme to update and revamp building walls within the Central Eastside Industrial District and will be located alongside murals by local artists including John Vance, Daniel Santollo, Jade Sturms, Sunny Beard, Isis Fisher, Jesus Torralba, Rupezzy, and more.

“We are so excited to continue the JEDARIART programme throughout the United States,” said Aisha Al Attiya, Head of QM’s Years of Culture. “By introducing talented Qatar-based artists like Fatima Al-Sharshani to the U.S., we’re continuing to build the Years of Culture program and create a mutual partnership and understanding between the U.S. and Qatar cultures.”

“I am incredibly proud and grateful for this opportunity to represent my country, Qatar, abroad in the Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture,” shared Fatima Al-Sharshani. “I am honoured to share my story through art and highlight the beauty of Arabic calligraphy on the walls of Portland.”

Fatima was also part of Jedariart here in Doha with her calligraphic street art features on the Qatar Post public wall. Traditional and modern calligraphy are the main elements in Fatima’s piece in which she brings to life with written words.

Fatima’s work for Jedariart in Doha.

“Some say that calligraphy is the engineering of the soul excited by your hands,” says Fatima, “Calligraphy to many, is just a subject, mastering different fonts but it is more than that, it is a form of art that utilises the beauty of language.”

“This pandemic, though terrible, has allowed people to discover their hidden talents. Can you imagine how many artists had been forever locked up because they were busy living in the corporate world and now the pandemic has brought out the artist in everyone,” she says.

“Art speaks to us in different ways, art is everywhere and the lockdown has opened our eyes to the beautiful things we see,” she says.

Portland is known for its quirky DIY mentality, progressive urban planning, bicycle-friendliness, and livable neighbourhoods. Some of Portland’s best street art can be found in its major cultural centers. In Portland’s neighbourhoods you can find art by internationally renowned artists, local legends, and anonymous citizens. Since 2012, Portland Street Art Alliance has managed over 120 commissioned and publicly-funded projects. They are a network of artists, academics, and professionals working to facilitate art projects in the city who document public art history, assist emerging artists with career development, offer internships, facilitate educational forums, host interpretive tours, and provide online platforms for community-building.

“Our mission is to advance street art culture by empowering artists to activate the spaces where we live, work, and play,” they said.

All Images Courtesy Qatar Museums.