05 March 2009

VCUQatar closes the Mousharaka Conference

Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar in partnership with Icograda concluded the last day of presentations of the design week’s events with a presentation from Adobe. Mousharaka took place at VCUQatar from 28 February to 5 March, 2009.

Day Six of Mousharaka opened on 5 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, Mira Nair.

One of Hollywood's most accomplished directors, Mira Nair has been lauded from her earliest endeavors. She found incipient and award winning success as a documentary filmmaker, before moving on to feature films. Ms. Nair's debut feature, Salaam Bombay was nominated for an Academy Award, Golden Globe, and BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It also won the Camera D'Or (for best first feature) and the Prix du Publique (for most popular entry) at the Cannes Film Festival as well as twenty-five other international awards. Since then, with films such as Mississippi Masala, Monsoon Wedding, the Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love, My Own Country, and Vanity Fair, Ms. Nair has become one of the most respected, acclaimed and award-winning directors of her generation.

She started with excerpts from her childhood, and all the influences on her work – from Chekov’s stories to the Indian ‘jathras’ (carnivals) and how she was drawn to the great articulation of drama. She spoke of her vivid experiences in getting into the skin of her characters, living with them for months – like when she moved in with two strippers for the making of Indian Cabaret, so she could understand women who were outside of society’s realm and get them to trust her with their reality.

She showed excerpts from her film The Namesake and the more recent six-minute film ‘8’ – from a group of eight short films by eight of the world's leading directors. The films were backed by the United Nations to promote the awareness for their eight millennium development goals which were to halve poverty by the year 2015. Ms. Nair’s feature focused on gender equality and was considered controversial by some.

She concluded the presentation sharing with students her little ‘mantra’. This being, to never treat anything as a stepping stone, practicing Iyengar Yoga, to be brave even when it means beings lonely as happens with artists most times and lastly, to not think about reward but go on your journey. After the presentation Ms. Nair talked to some more students who had many questions for her.

The presentation was followed by a little experiment conducted by the Icograda members, with David Berman leading, who got all the speakers and audience involved in a little game to express in a word what the conference had meant to them without actually using the word mousharaka. The interactive project was thoroughly enjoyed by all. The Mousharaka Conference concluded with a presentation by the Adobe team.

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 and students will engage in two-day workshops culminating in an exhibition of the best work.. 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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