A diverse crowd of more than 500 lovers of art, culture, and intercultural exchange converged on Monday evening at ADC Contemporary & BUILDING BRIDGES International Art Exchange at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica.
The evening celebrated common bonds between Los Angeles and Qatar.
Attendees, including local high school students, educators and art aficionados, were invited by Qatar Foundation International (QFI) to experience a mixed media art installation created by American and Arabic high school students who recently participated in an international cultural exchange program in Doha that was facilitated by the organization.
The art installation ‘Aber: Expressions of Culture, Identity and Language invites Angelenos to imagine a world where decades of misconceptions and stereotypes between two cultures can be broken down and re-imagined through the modern works of young people, unafraid to explore common bonds.
“The fact that the American girls and the Qatari girls came together and (were able to) put all of the feelings that we experienced towards each other into one art piece was really amazing,” said Caitlen Diav, a junior at Granada Hills High School, of the experience. “We got to understand each other and observe our cultures…we let the similarities connect us, so we didn’t pay much attention to the differences.”
Also on the bill was a powerful, bi-lingual performance by Syrian-American Hip-Hop artist Omar Offendum who is fluent in both Arabic and English and whose 2010, solo release ‘SyrianamericanA’ continues to break cultural barriers around the world.
“It’s a testament to my belief that art is one of the best and most effective ways to build bridges,” said Offendum when asked what inspired him most about the exhibition. “It’s that commonality, that humanity that binds us all – to be able to look past our differences to the things that really connect us.”
‘Aber: Expressions of Culture, Identity and Language will be on display and open to the public through July 13 at Contemporary & BUILDING BRIDGES International Art Exchange.