Create & Inspire with Maria Dardot's work, Inhotim / Courtesy of The Crossway Foundation
12 winners of the 'Create & Inspire 2014' competition from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom travelled to Brazil in September 2014 to experience one of the most colourful cultures in the world on the creative adventure of a lifetime. The 2014 competition was organised by the Crossway Foundation in partnership with Art Jameel and Qatar Museums.
In Brazil the winning team explored the country’s vibrant landscape and creative scene by collaborating with local arts and social organisations in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Ouro Preto, Inhotim, Belo Horizonte, Serra do Cipó, Cachoeira and Salvador.
The team began their journey in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro where they worked with Gui Mohallem, a Brazilian artist of Lebanese origin, to learn about the basic principles of photography without a camera and with Brazilian art collective, Ambientes Infláveis, exploring the use of inflatable structures in an urban environment. After Rio de Janeiro, the team travelled to Ouro Preto, a former colonial mining town and a Unesco World Heritage Site because of its outstanding baroque architecture. Then they spent two days exploring Inhotim, a contemporary art wonderland set amid 5,000 acres of botanical gardens.
Ambientes Infláveis / Courtesy of The Crossway Foundation
Nasser Alzayani with Chris Burdens, Beam Drop, Inhotim / Courtesy of The Crossway Foundation
The team travelled on to Salvador da Bahia, Brazil’s first colonial capital. There they visited the Candeal community where they took part in a percussion workshop at the Pracatum Music School, explored Salvador's historic centre, Pelourinho, and went to the riverside town of Cachoeira to learn the basics of capoeira.
Create & Inspire 2014 / Group photo in the Candeal Community in Salvador / Courtesy of The Crossway Foundation
For the final part of the journey, the team returned to São Paulo where they reviewed their two weeks in Brazil and how their creative process had changed. Over the course of two days, the whole team discussed what they had learnt and each winner was asked to present a creative project they had been working on throughout the trip.
Of his time in Brazil, Ghassan Al-Harbi from Saudi Arabia said: “Being part of 'Create & Inspire 2014' was a life-changing experience in every sense of the word. What I found particularly interesting, as somebody without formal art education, was to see first-hand how all the artists involved in the project see and create differently because of our different artistic practices. It was fascinating listening to everyone’s point of view.”
Ghassan Al-Harbi meets Brazilian artist Teresa Berlinck, São Paulo / Courtesy of The Crossway Foundation
Sharjah-based sketchbook artist, Nasser Al Zayani commented: "For the first time, I felt that my sketchbook not only reflected my own experiences, but those of others through their interaction with me. I have always said that my art deals with observation, and that it is directly influenced by my interactions with a particular environment. This happens through my experiences with architecture, art, and people. This trip drastically changed the way my sketchbooks reflect my interactions with people, and that makes them more precious than ever before."
Ayaz Rauf preparing his final creative project, São Paulo / Courtesy of The Crossway Foundation
Mawadah Muhtasib preparing her final creative project, São Paulo / Courtesy of The Crossway Foundation
“We’re proud to see so many talented young artists emerge from this competition. Partnering with initiatives such as 'Create & Inspire' lies at the very heart of what Art Jameel believes in: fostering young artists’ careers; encouraging them to develop their talents by exposing them to new experiences; and empowering them to share what they have learnt in order to enrich their communities back home,” said Fady Jameel, President of Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives (ALJCI) International.
Create & Inspire is a popular art competition that identifies talented young artists in the UK and the Gulf. The initiative is run by British charity, the Crossway Foundation, in partnership with Art Jameel and Qatar Museums, and supported by Saudi Aramco, the British Council and Etihad Airways.
Tulip Hazbar preparing her final creative project, São Paulo / Courtesy of The Crossway Foundation
Speaking about 'Create & Inspire 2014', Director of the Office of Strategic Cultural Relations at Qatar Museums, Safiya Saif Al Hajari says: "This initiative supports emerging talent by taking the cultural experience beyond the four walls of a museum. We are pleased to be working in partnership with the Crossway Foundation for the second consecutive year to act as a cultural instigator for the creation generation."
The trip resulted in some 7,500 photographs documenting the locations and activities as well as 8 short film clips that were released in ‘real time’ during the Journey to Brazil. Here you can see the 5-minute film outlining the entire trip. An exhibition of the artwork produced as a result of the trip is planned for November 2015 in the Gulf.