Posted on September 02, 2015

From the magical mosques of Istanbul and the pseudo-moonscapes of Cappadocia, to the vibrant cityscapes of Doha and the  shifting sands of the Qatari desert; four photographers from two different nations documented their journeys as moments captured in time; engaging in an inspiring exchange of artistic discovery and cultural dialogue. Their aim was to capture real people in their natural environments.  This is a photography exhibition to showcase the best works from Qatari and Turkish photographers: Sara Al Obaidly, Saleh Al Marri, Ali Muhammet Bayraktariglu and Hasan Yelken.

The photography exhibition Artistic Journeys: New Angles; New Perspectives, is a unique visual interpretation of this year’s Qatar Turkey 2015 Year of Culture. In collaboration with the Qatar Photographic Society (QPS), the Ministry of Culture and See My Culture, and sponsored by Exxonmobil, Qatar Airways and W Doha, Qatar Turkey 2015 sent two Qatari photographers on a two-week expedition across Turkey to photograph its landscapes, people, food, culture, and tourist attractions. The aim was to capture the essence of Turkey through Qatari eyes. In turn, two Turkish photographers were invited to journey across the Arabian Peninsula to experience Qatar through Turkish eyes. The results were spectacular and this exhibition showcases the best photographs taken during both trips.

This is the second year for this exhibition which embodies the core values of cultural exchange in the Year of Culture programme. Photographers are encouraged to interact with the locals, learn from them and document their experiences via social media. Speaking about his experience in Qatar, Turkish Photographer A li Muhammet Bayraktariglu said: “From Qatar I’m taking back to Turkey with me some great friendships. I was not sure about Arabic culture before. What I knew is what I read. But living a culture teaches people a lot. From now on, Qatar is the pearl of the Gulf to me.”

Commenting on the Year of Culture and exhibition, HE Ahmet Demirkan Ambassador of Turkey in Qatar said: “This year gives a great opportunity to release the potential in cultural and social fields and to cement our relations at grassroots level. I see with great pleasure that Turkish and Qatari people are getting more and more interested to know each other. Given all these positive frames, I believe there is a lot to share and cooperate between our brotherly countries; therefore we will need to work harder to catch our potential. And our doors are always wide open to our Qatari brothers and sisters.”

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Commenting on the exhibition, Safiya Saif Al Hajari, Director of Strategic Cultural Relations at Qatar Museums, said: “We are delighted to host this exhibition, which highlights the role for art and culture in deepening awareness and understanding between nations. The exhibition presents a series of unique perspectives of both Qatar and Turkey captured through the lenses of these talented photographers. Together they have engaged in a fascinating journey of discovery and developed a deep appreciation of one another’s cultures during these past few months. In this way, the exhibition is an ideal expression of the aims of the Qatar Turkey Year of Culture – to strengthen bilateral relations by creating lasting partnerships between institutions and individuals. I would like to thank all our partners and sponsors for working with us to make this exhibition possible.” 

“As the platinum sponsor of Qatar Turkey 2015: Year of Culture, ExxonMobil Qatar is extremely pleased to witness the fruits of the photographic exchange that took place between Qatar and Turkey showcased in the photography exhibition Artistic Journeys: New Angles; New Perspectives,” said Alistair Routledge, President and General Manager for ExxonMobil Qatar. “As a committed partner in Qatar – a role we have proudly and wholeheartedly embraced for more than 22 years -- ExxonMobil Qatar continues to support the country by helping to sustain its thriving society and preserve its rich heritage through programs and initiatives such as this one, which encourage cultural dialogue, and promote the talent and unique capabilities of Qatari individuals.” 

This year’s exhibition is in collaboration with the Qatari and Turkish Ministries of Culture, the Qatar Photographic Society and See My Culture. The exhibition will run from 1 September – 30 September 2015 at the Qatar photographic Society Gallery, Building 18 in Katara.

ExxonMobil Qatar and Qatar Museums share a long-term relationship based on mutual respect and understanding.  The company is proudly supporting Qatar Turkey Year of Culture as its Platinum Sponsor as an important initiative, which will fundamentally lead to a deeper international understanding of Qatar and its rich culture, and highlight it as a world-class center for business and cultural activities.  Qatar- Turkey 2015 year of culture is also supported by Qatar Airways as official Airline, and W- Hotel as hospitality Sponsor.

This exhibition will mark the launch of the exciting QT15 autumn program which will include:

  • A lecture as part of the Archaeology and heritage conservation in turkey lectures series. 15 September 2015, UCL Qatar, 6PM  “Phrygian Civilization and the Ancient Site of Gordion” , by Mr Halil Demirdelen, Vice Director, Museum of Anatolian Civilisations, Ankara,
  • Harem Al Sultan, Magnificent Century: The Exhibition. Special Edition, 17th September, QM Gallery in Katara
  • Turkish festival and bazaar 29-31 October

Photographers Bios

Sara Al Obaidly

Sara Al Obaidly is a portrait and documentary photographer from Doha, Qatar. She completed her education in the United Kingdom, where she received her BA and MA at The University of Brighton. Confronting present-day political, philosophical and social issues, Sara captures the intimate moments of human emotion through portraiture, and a wider view of the region she visits and its intricacies in her landscape compositions. Recently commissioned by Qatar Museums, Sara's work titled, Qatar: Old Hearts, New World, was showcased in the  Here There (Huna Hunak) exhibition as part of the Qatar Brazil 2014 Year of Culture.

Sara has been shortlisted for the prestigious Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Award in 2014 and her piece, Together We Stand, was on show at the National Portrait Gallery in London until February 2015. Her works were also shortlisted for the Association of Photographers (AOP) Award and The Al Thani Award.

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Saleh Al Marri

Saleh graduated from Qatar University with a degree in Media in 2008. He is currently studying for a Masters at Cairo University on the Role of Visual Culture in Social Development. Saleh’s interest in photography began in 2007 as part of a university photo-journalism project for Al Raya newspaper where he was introduced to the world of photography and started to learn how to convey messages and stories through images. Saleh took an interest in portrait photography and then landscape and cityscape photography, however his real passion is capturing people in their daily lives.

Some of Saleh’s achievements include winning the Traditional Dhow competition in Qatar, the Sheikh Sultan Festival in UAE, and a commission by Abu Dhabi TV, who produced a mosaic sculpture of one of his photographs , unveiled in April 2015 in a popular square in Abu Dhabi. Saleh has a large following on instagram and is an official Alpha Influencer for SONY MENA where he regularly holds photography training workshops for SONY employees and clients.

Ali Muhammet Bayraktariglu

Ali Muhammet Bayraktariglu is Faculty Dean and academic staff at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Trakya University. He was born in Bayindir, Izmir in 1967. His interest in photography started at a young age. There was a tradition in Turkey at that time in which families organised apprenticeships for their children during the summer holidays. At the age of 10, Ali chose to be a photography apprentice in Tire, Izmir.  He then decided he wanted to study photography and obtained a degree from Dokuz Eylul University. In 1997 he received a scholarship to attend an MFA degree in Photography from the Savannah College of Art and Design in the United States. He also has a PhD in Communications from Ankara University.  In his spare time, Ali likes to photograph food and daily life in Turkey.

Ali is a member of several prestigious photographic societies such as GAFSAD and IFSAD in Turkey and has research interests in alternative photography techniques, intelligent technologies and photography, the ideological function of photography and propaganda, and understanding social documentary photography.

Hasan Yelken

Hasan Yelken is a dentist. The natural beauty he came across during his travels around the world is what inspired him to take up photography. In 1995, he became a member of the Gaziantep Association of Art Photography where he went on to become Chairman of the Board of Directors from 1998 to 2006. Being a photographer was a big turning point in Hasan’s life and he believes it has made his life more meaningful. Hasan divides his life into two parts: before photography and after. After photography he started to explore life and people in a different way. He has also had the opportunity to explore other cultures and occupations.

Hasan has taught Basic Photography in Gaziantep University and has published  a  photo book titled Flowers of Gaziantep. He is a board member for an arts and culture magazine called Ayıntap published in Gaziantep in which he also writes travel articles. Since becoming a photographer, Hasan has become more environmentally conscious. He believes that photographers should be a witness to change in our rapidly changing world and should document societies around them.