Posted on July 17, 2013

Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture and Qatargas today announced sending Ben Barbour, the Doha based Msheireb resident artist from Qatar to the UK aboard one of Nakilat’s Q-Flex, state-of-the-art Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) tankers managed by Shell International Shipping and Trading Ltd, to South Hook, Wales - Europe’s largest re-gasification terminal. The journey will follow the historic pearl trade routes, during which Barbour will capture observations and objects from both past and present in his art.

Ben Barbour is a celebrated, professional and extraordinary talent with deep roots documenting Qatar’s remarkable journey. His highly acclaimed work ‘New City’ documented Msheireb, the earliest suburb of Doha, through sketches as the area underwent extensive regeneration. Barbour’s voyage on board the Q-Flex, will draw parallels between Qatar’s industry of natural resources and its former pearl fishing industry. Barbour will also focus on the community of individuals onboard the tanker, collecting and re-telling the personal stories of the crew as well as organising workshops for them.

Whilst following the old pearl trade routes, Barbour will regularly post updates online; they can be followed on the Qatar UK 2013 Facebook page

Ben Barbour says “It’s been a lifelong dream to take part in a journey of this kind. I am very grateful to Qatar UK 2013, the British Council, Qatargas and Nakilat for having given me the opportunity to travel on a Q-flex and explore the journey first hand. I feel very honoured to be able to contribute to the Year of Culture, documenting not only the past, but also some of the shared similarities between Qatar and the UK.”

Martin Hope, Director, British Council Qatar, says “When Ben first approached us with the idea for this project, we were tremendously excited.  Through Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture we are bringing the two nations closer together through cultural exchange. Ben, who is a talented artist, will contribute to this by charting and painting the key features of this traditional trade route during his time on the vessel. The project serves to underline the already existing strong ties between our countries and we are tremendously proud to support it.” 

Aisha Ghanem Al Attiya, Qatar UK 2013 says “We are delighted to have been part of this exceptional art project. For six months, the Year of Culture has provided people in Qatar and Qataris living and studying abroad unique opportunities to engage with their own history and that of the UK, largely in the arenas of performing arts, education, cultural exchange, sport and community outreach.As the Year of Culture is working towards strengthening bilateral relations between Qatar and the UK, this journey is very symbolic for us.”

Abdurrahman Mohamed Al-Mulla, Shipping Manager, Qatargas says “As a peninsula in the Arabian Gulf, Qatar has always depended on the sea. Traditionally, our people have earned their livelihood based on pearling and fishing. Today, as the world’s largest LNG supplier, we still depend on the sea to deliver LNG to our customers throughout the world on our fleet of LNG carriers, the biggest fleet of LNG vessels in existence – our ‘floating pipeline’.

Qatargas is delighted to support Ben Barbour in this 20-day voyage from Qatar to the UK on the Qatargas-chartered vessel that carries liquefied natural gas from our plants in Ras Laffan to the South Hook Terminal in Milford Haven. Qatargas’ support to this venture reflects the importance we attach to arts and culture as key focus areas of our corporate social responsibility programme.  As Platinum Sponsor of the Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture, Qatargas is already supporting various cultural events and exhibitions in both the countries.”

Samir Bailouni, Director Fleet, Nakilat says “This is the first time we have been part of an art project of this kind and we are delighted to work closely with Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture and Qatargas to ensure a successful journey for Ben Barbour. Ben will not only witness and experience firsthand the everyday life on a Q-FlexLNG vessel, he will also be experiencing the route the tanker takes and the operational side of the vessel, learning how the LNG is carried and safely managed. We hope Ben will enjoy the journey, the tanker staff are eager to be joined by Benand we are very much looking forward to seeing hisc ompleted art works at the end of the trip.”

Rahul Deep Singh, Qatargas 4 Governance & Commercial Manager at Qatar Shell said, “As one of the Platinum Sponsors for Qatar UK 2013, Shell is pleased to be a part of this exciting art project. Shell was honoured to have been chosen to manage and operate 25 of Nakilat’s new LNG carriers, and are proud of the role we have been able to play in contributing to the vision of the State of Qatar, which only six years ago decided to create its floating pipeline to carry Qatari natural gas to the UK and other world markets. We have safely delivered over 285 cargoes to the UK to date. We are also proud of our association with this project, and look forward to hosting Ben aboard the Q-Flex carrier, the Al Karaana, on this historic journey, thereby further strengthening the cultural ties between Qatar, Shell and the UK.”

Culminating with an exhibition at Katara Cultural Village in October and in Wales later in the year, the trip’s purpose is to deepen understanding of Qatar’s unprecedented economic development from dependence on the natural resources provided by the sea through economic diversity powered by the oil and gas sector to greater economic diversification and the creation of a knowledge-based economy by 2030.

Qatar Airways flies daily to Kilimanjaro, Tanzania