Qatar Museums (QM), in co-operation with the Qatar Debate Centre – a member of Qatar Foundation, recently organised a virtual Arabic debate on public art and its role in the development of culture and thought in society. It was attended by more than 100 community members.
Two teams of high school students debated the topic: This house believes that public art must be compatible with country's culture? The debate featured the participation of: Moza al-Hajri, Dana al-Darwish, and Mohamed Hamzah al-Sioufi as the proposition team, and Ammar Yasser Mohamed Karkur, Abdullah Hamza Mohamed Sha'ar, and Rahaf Khalid Abu Tarbush, as the opposition team.
The proposition team argued that art’s role was a historical one. As per the team’s argument, art documents events that affect people’s lives, and it additionally contributes to constructing society’s culture when artists document new events using modern methods.
The opposition team conversely argued that art was a means of expression, and its restriction meant limiting the freedom of expression, a human right guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The team further stated that public art led to the development of the thought and culture of society by introducing different ideas and cultures to it.
During the debate, community members voted on the question and majority of the audience agreed with the proposition team.
Architect Abdulrahman Ahmad al-Ishaq, director of Public Art, QM said: “We were pleased at QM to receive so many attendees in this debate, held in co-operation with Qatar Debate Centre. QM is working to enhance the sense of national participation in important cultural dialogue, and to inspire future generations to take an interest in the arts and contribute to Qatar’s thriving art scene.”
Abdulrahman al-Subaie, head of Outreach Programmes at Qatar Debate Centre, said: “The importance of debate and public discussion of general issues that meet the aspirations of young people and allow them to employ their promising energies by providing the appropriate atmosphere to explore the potentials within them.”