16 February 2021

VCUarts Qatar Faculty and Students Lead FIFA Club World Cup 2020™ Fan Activations

University helps spread the spirit of goodwill, hope and cultural appreciation among attendees from participating nations

Faculty and students from VCUarts Qatar brought a splash of creativity, goodwill – and color – to the FIFA Club World Cup 2020™ activations held across Qatar Foundation’s (QF) Education City (EC), recently. The activations were conducted in the run-up to, and during, the tournament matches held at the EC stadium.

Sonali Raman, Adjunct Faculty, Fashion Design, VCUarts Qatar, was the moderator for a panel discussion on ‘Traditional Fashion’, organized by the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) on February 1, at the Quranic Garden at QF’s Oxygen Park, while students from the university’s Graphic Design department – Naima Almajdobah, Asmaa Al Mannai, Sara Raessi, Nadia Jabari and Maryam Al Muftah – captured the messages shared by football fans on their way to matches held at the EC stadium.

The panel discussion was part of SC’s efforts to promote cultural exchange among nations competing in the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020™, with a focus on enhancing understanding and appreciation of culture and heritage of the host and participating nations. With this in mind, SC invited spokespeople representing the nations in the tournament – Brazil, Germany, Egypt, Mexico, South Korea and Qatar – to present the traditional and folklore outfits from their respective countries.

Participants in the panel discussion were Yezenia Navarro a well-known Qatar-based Mexican actress, influencer, social activist and former model, Elham Al Ansari, a popular Qatari fashion and contemporary designer,  Shaima Sherif, an ethno-archaeologist who has specialized in Arabian archaeology, Mariana Araujo, a 19 year-old Brazilian journalism student at Northwestern University in Qatar with an interest in fashion, and Abla Sebak from Egypt, the CEO of the Noire Group, and fashion entrepreneur.

According to Raman, the event was an opportunity to explore and understand the cultures and traditions that defined the costumes of the countries the ladies represented, including Qatar’s fashion heritage.

“Qatar’s cosmopolitan outlook translates into a mosaic of many cultures living harmoniously and learning much from each other,” the VCUarts Qatar faculty member noted. “In this regard, the country truly is a microcosm of the world.

“Sporting events like the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020 bring together different cultures of the world on a grand scale and throw the spotlight on all the diversity that exists in Qatar, giving us all a chance to get a deeper insight about them. Such evenings of intercultural exchange help us all to share and embrace other cultures including local Qatari traditions.”

Football fans on their way to the EC stadium to watch the matches on the 4th, 7th and 11th of February were seen enthusiastically sharing personal wishes of hope, inspiration, pride and goodwill with the VCUarts Qatar’s graphic design students stationed near the periphery of the match venue. The students collated these messages into giant murals of brilliantly colored stylized fonts, onto white boards placed there specifically for the purpose.

Naima Almajdobah, a Class of 2022 junior, and one of the VCUarts Qatar students who was on site, shared the experience – and her own excitement.

“We were quite lucky to meet Abdulla Alghafri, a famous social media influencer, who shared with us one of his messages and hope for a better world,” she said. “He personally took part in the artwork, writing the message ‘Invest in yourself’ in Arabic on to the canvas. It was definitely a special moment for me. He took a video of the mural and shared it on his personal Instagram and Snapchat accounts, so that those unable to attend the event, could see what we were creating.”

And she added, “The air of bonhomie and comradery reminded me of our lives before the COVID-19 pandemic, with people walking around and cheering for their teams – the atmosphere was pulsing with laughter and positivity.

“Art helps capture such moments of happiness and hope; this knowledge, I believe, is what motivated fans to come forward and share their personal feelings with us, allowing us to make those sentiments a part of an artwork that will mark the occasion for eternity.”

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