04 March 2009

VCUQatar closes day 5 of Mousharaka with the last of the professional speakers

Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar in partnership with Icograda concluded day five of Mousharaka. Mousharaka takes place at VCUQatar from 28 February to 5 March, 2009.

Day Five of Mousharaka opened on 4 March, 2009, with Muneera Umedaly Spence’s, Chairperson of the Mousharaka Organizing Committee and the Chairperson of the Graphic Design Department at VCUQatar, remarks and a student introducing keynote speaker and philosopher, Mark Kingwell.

Mr. Kingwell is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto and a contributing editor of Harper’s Magazine.  He is the author of eleven books of political and cultural theory, including the bestsellers Better Living, The World We Want, and Concrete Reveries: Consciousness and the City.  His presentation focused on the latter. He started with consciousness as a philosophical motion and how much of what is the world is a collaboration of perspectives and interactions with others. He talked about cities as complex sets of organisms comprising majority of the world’s population. The main focus of the presentation was his idea of the Capital of the 19th Century (past) Paris, the Capital of the (20th century) Present (New York) and the City of Tomorrow – Shanghai. He talked about why he believed Shanghai fits the bill, given its long history of negotiating, its urban-ness which has lived through centuries and the form its architecture takes today. He concluded with his thoughts on how cities are the incubators of our dreams and how we find places that allow our deepest dreams to run free.

The next speaker, Donna Campbell, is a lecturer in Maori material culture, indigenous textile creation, and Maori art history at the School of Maori and Pacific Development, University of Waikato, in Hamilton, Aotearoa, New Zealand. Her visual presentation, entitled Honoring the Treasures of the Feminine showcased the textile art form from Aotearoa that traveled the West Coast of North America. The collaborative nature of this exhibition brought together native artists from Aotearoa and America in a meaningful creative exchange of knowledge and cultural capital. The resilience of ritual and the implications of contemporary practice were also considered, within the collective environment of the textile fiber arts.

Māori are the indigenous people of Aotearoa, New Zealand and a Polynesian people settling there over 700 years ago. The cooler climate of this new land was not conducive to the cultivation of a primary plant Aute, (lacebark) used for the manufacture of tapa cloth for clothing by all Polynesian people generally. The discovery of Phormium Tenax or the native flax of Aotearoa became the fundamental fiber used in raranga (weaving), kakahu (clothing), and plaited items or baskets for every need. The fiber arts, from a Māori perspective, equate to the making of fine art in a Western paradigm. Inherent within these fiber art forms, the narratives of whakapapa (genealogy) connect maker, materials, artifact and end users in ways that conform to the continuum of identity, and knowledge transmission.

The last speakers, Delaware, let their music design do all the talking for them. This supersonic group displayed their retro-futurism with an A/V show that showed their design flow into a cross-stitch with words floating across the screen describing feelings and emotions.

The Icograda student scholarships awarded to six international winners were announced the previous evening, the winners being Anita Acheampong (Ghana), Robert Canak (Croatia), Sun Chao (China), Estelle Flores (Brazil), Laura Plini (Asutralia) and Lisa Willman (United States). The scholarships were for students to attend Mousharaka: Icograda Design Week in Qatar and were supported by VCUQatar.

The day concluded with a trip to Souq Waqif for lunch with the speakers.

VCUQatar also announced the participation of  Sara’s Secrets as a sponsor for Mousharaka. Proprietor Sara Abdulghany A. Nasser, a VCUQatar graduate set up Sara’s Secrets to bring to the region her designs and accessories, all ranging from the casual to the luxurious and targeting all age groups. Her focus is on delivering to the customer what she is looking for and to make sure her customers are completely satisfied, Sara imports accessories from other parts of the world as well. With her own skills being a major factor, and working with the best in the industry, Sara through Sara’s Secrets hopes to change the fashion landscape in Qatar.

Mousharaka / The Icograda Design Week in Qatar, presented by VCUQatar, is composed of the Education Symposium and the Professional Conference, where prominent speakers will share perspectives on design and design collaborations. VCUQatar is also spearheading the creation of MEDEA – the Middle East Design Educators Association - a platform for educators charged with getting the most out of design. For more information about Mousharaka, featured speakers and events, and to register please visit http://www.mousharaka.com/

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