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> > > Rachel Gadsden in Qatar

As part of the Qatar-UK Year of Culture, the British Council are presenting an arts and disability festival featuring work from the Unlimited season, a major element within the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. The programme of live performance, visual arts and film includes an exhibition and workshops by disabled visual artist Rachel Gadsden. Tim Hayton, Gadsden's husband and business Partner, who regularly engages with disability art projects, blogs about the trip.

Rachel Gadsden returns home from Qatar

3 April 2013


photo of a group of muslim men crouching down to paint a mural on the floor

Our three weeks in Doha, Qatar, were both productive and hugely enjoyable.  Being held at the ever popular and busy Katara Culture Village on the banks of the Gulf at the northern end of the Doha Corniche, over the three week period the comprehensive range of events, installations and performances, which made up the Qatar Arts and Disability Festival, attracted substantial daytime and evening audiences from all over the Gulf region - and indeed the world. Rachel’s exhibition of...

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The Arts and Disability Festival in Qatar takes off with Mark Brew and Joel Simon

29 March 2013


photo of wheelchair dancer Mark Brew on stage with animator Joel Simon and British Council representative Carole McFadden

We are coming to the end of our stay in Qatar. And as the temperature here creeps higher – up around the mid-thirties most of the time by now – in the UK, we know, in sharp contrast it is languishing at around zero! We have a second opening event – to provide an opportunity for the public to meet and have an in-conversation with the newly arrived dance performer and choreographer, Mark Brew, and animator Joel Simon. Rachel is called upon to create a second live artwork and...

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Rachel Gadsden runs a workshop at the Al Noor Institute for the Blind (Shafallah Centre)

28 March 2013


We have now undertaken two more art workhops here at Katara Culture Village, outside the Artists Studio area of the village. They were attended by young disability and non-disabled students, attending local schools here in Doha. This morning we visit the largest and newly built Al Noor Institute for the Blind (Shafallah Centre) outside the city, organised as a result of a meeting with the determined and personable headmistress Ms Abeer at the festival launch three nights earlier. The...

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Rachel Gadsden back in Qatar for the Arts and Disability Festival

25 March 2013


A group of women dressed in burkas and a man in white islamic head dress, sit painting with artist Rachel Gadsden outside an art gallery

On the evening of our third day in Bahrain, Rachel creates a live and interactive painting outside the Al Riwak art gallery. At intervals Rachel pauses to talk directly to the audience about her artistic motivations and practice. The event is a huge success, with many attending; and people also stopping in their cars in the road outside the gallery to see what the fuss is all about; and many people from both the local and the ex-pat communities wishing to contribute to the four large 5 foot by...

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Rachel Gadsden produces painting workshops in schools in Bahrain

22 March 2013


the artist Rachel Gadsden and a visually-impaired child are dressed in white t-shirts, posing in front of a painting mural

Our stay in Qatar is punctuated temporarily after the Royal opening of This Breathing World exhibition, by a trip to Bahrain, which is a half hour plane-ride away, along the Gulf. We are here for five days for Rachel to deliver four bodymapping visual art workshops to disabled and non-disabled young people on behalf of British Council Bahrain; and subsequently to conduct a live painting event outside the Al Riwaq art gallery in one of the many busy restaurant districts of the island kingdom....

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Rachel Gadsden presents This Breathing World in Qatar

18 March 2013


photo of group including royals attend a bodymapping workshop

It is an easy 6 hour flight from London to Qatar; where it is late spring and like a hot English summer. Qatar, so the brochures tell us, is the only true desert nation; and my first impressions are just so: from the rooftop of our base at the Torch Hotel indeed the desert does surround us. If, conveniently, for the time being, I set aside the rich Bedouin heritage, Qatar, in addition, is almost brand new. New in any case in the sense of the speed with which over say twenty years it has set...

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