QatART craft group

Meet the Doha residents using their creative urges to make money (and have a little fun too!)

QatART creative market sales
QatART creative market sales
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Beat the heat and your inevitable boredom by tapping into your inner-creative conscience this summer. To find out how, Jessica Bailey Ackerman chats with Dominika Bozic, co-founder of local artist group QatART.

When it comes to summer in Doha, I find myself cowering away from the heat with an air conditioning unit that is yet to find the balance between sweltering and Arctic. We all know this is the season to catch up on that TV series you have been dying to watch. But I say it’s high time we think outside the ‘box-set’ and find something more constructive to do with your time instead of getting square eyes and working on a pasty complexion.

They say creativity involves a number of cognitive processes, neural pathways and emotions and that’s just the beginning. Yet many of us believe we ‘aren’t the creative type’. With a little concentration and direction, however, I’m sure all of us, deep down, have at least a little creativity to let loose on the world. So I met up with Dominika Bozic, cofounder of QatART, to find out how we can all tap into our creative side and do something a little more productive with our time this season.

QatART is a community of mixed cultural artisans who live in Doha and hand-make all their creations. Dominka explains, ‘QatART is a platform whereby locally-based artisans are able to promote their handmade arts and crafts through our newsletters, social media presence and our markets.’

In 2011, Dominka Bozic and Gabi Pezo joined forces to use their passion for creativity to bring together a community of like minded individuals who would support one another in their creative endeavours, helping to boost the local market. Over the last three years, QatART has become more and more active in Qatar’s community after partnering with Inspiration Station, a local centre for arts and crafts, to form a dedicated team of board members.

‘Currently we have a dynamic group of 50 people, from more than 20 countries, who are regular participants of our creative community,’ Dominka tells me. ‘All of our creations are unique and sans any mass production, from handbags to clothes, jewellery, accessories, home décor, party supplies and an abundance more.

‘Together we want to encourage local artisans to produce handmade works and to support individuals in building their small business,’ she adds. ‘We are organising workshops for our members to help them develop vital business development skills with a focus on things like branding, building an online presence and product photography.’ QatART members are able to exhibit their handiworks at various markets organised across the country by various organisations, schools, universities and other groups, typically to raise money to be able to support the community.

Dominika is especially proud of their collaboration with Katara Art Studios earlier this year. ‘We couldn’t believe we got the opportunity to showcase handmade products from our talented members at such a popular and beautiful location.

‘We hosted quick workshops where people could learn how to make things like paper flowers and how to crochet. We got great exposure as a group and individuals, and we were so touched by the positive response of people who attended, as well as the great feedback from the media.’

The more I get to know about QatART, the more apparent it becomes that they’re all about teamwork and mutual support. There’s no competition and there’s a tangible sense of friendship.

Since the success of the market held at Katara in March, QatART has agreed to continue to host the markets in collaboration with Katara Art Studios, resuming in October 2014. The market will be held two Fridays a month, with exact dates and times announced on QatART social media.

Innovation and creativity are key factors for this community with absolutely nothing imported to be resold (although imported supplies are allowed due to a lack of availability in Qatar). I ask Dominika why the concept of ‘no resell and no imports’ is so important. She says, ‘We want customers to be assured that when they come to our markets, anything they buy would have been made by a local artisan here in Qatar. We hope this will influence other artists’.
For more information and to get involved with QatART, email infoqatar@gmail.com or visit www.facebook/com/QatARTcommunity.

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