HE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani inaugurated on Sunday Safar, a temporary exhibition organized by the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), highlighting the experiences of Afghan refugees following their evacuation in 2021.
The exhibition is on view at MIA Park until Jan. 24, 2024.
HE Chairperson of Qatar Museums Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani attended the official unveiling of Safar along with several senior government officials.
Safar highlights the experiences and stories of Afghan refugees through a collection of videos, photographs, and illustrated stories beginning with a look at Afghanistan's history, the importance of its geographical position at the crossroads of ancient trade routes, its wealth and natural resources, as well as being part of the most important and largest empires, and the basis of civilizations since the Bronze Age.
HE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani welcomed attendees during the opening ceremony of the exhibition, which highlights the journey of tens of thousands of Afghans and foreign nationals from Afghanistan through Qatar. In addition, the exhibition conveys a message of thanks and appreciation to all local and international partners who contributed to the success of the evacuation.
In his opening address during the ceremony, His Excellency noted the role of Qatar in making one of the largest air evacuation operations in history a success, pointing to the concerted efforts of all concerned authorities in the country to facilitate the safe evacuation of more than 80,000 Afghan citizens and foreign nationals.
His Excellency referred to the role of Qatar in rehabilitating Kabul Airport, which contributed to facilitating the movement of people, basic goods and humanitarian and development aid.
His Excellency stated that these extensive efforts, embodied in the Safar exhibition, affirm Qatar's commitment to bilateral and multilateral work, particularly global humanitarian efforts. He noted that the exhibition also serves as a great model for collective action at an international level, providing a solid foundation for large-scale cooperation in the future. His Excellency underscored the cooperation between local and international partners in making the evacuation a success.
His Excellency reiterated Qatar's commitment to its humanitarian responsibilities towards Afghanistan and firm stance on supporting the Afghan people and their right to live with dignity and achieve reconciliation and peaceful coexistence without exclusion or discrimination and to build a bright future for present and future generations. He expressed Qatar's aspiration for the international community's continued support of the Afghan people at this critical stage to ensure their safety, stability and development.
HE Chairperson of Qatar Museums Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani, said, "The story of the Afghan people is one of resilience in the face of the extreme challenges they experienced during the evacuation. It is an honor for Qatar Museums to partner with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to shine a spotlight on these moving stories, while celebrating Afghanistans rich culture and abundant history."
Speaking to Qatar News Agency (QNA), the Deputy Director of the Museum of Islamic Art and director of the education and community awareness department at the museum Salem Abdullah Al Marri said that the exhibition includes works by refugee artists from Afghanistan from Turquoise Mountain. He pointed out that more than 500 workshops were presented to Afghan refugees by the Museum of Islamic Art and Qatar Museums, as well as cooperation with other parties.
Sara Al Saadi, director of the office of the assistant foreign minister, told QNA that the exhibition sheds light on the stories of the Afghan refugees who traveled via Doha during the evacuation process, and it is an opportunity to learn about their stories, pain and hopes It also tells what happened to them, she added.
On the timing of the opening of the exhibition, which coincides with the approaching hosting of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, Al Saadi said that the exhibition will open its doors to the public starting on Monday and will last for three months, and will be available to the global public for visiting.
Across seven halls, the exhibition explores the experiences of Afghan refugees from a primary perspective to highlight their unique stories and their suffering following the evacuation. Also, the exhibition highlights the importance of Afghanistan as a center for intellectual discussion and artistic excellence for thousands of years.
It deals with the support of the State of Qatar and its bilateral relations with Afghanistan over the past 30 years, as well as its role during the evacuation process in 2021.
The children of the refugees told via the artworks what was inside them, and their colors at the beginning of the evacuation process were bleak, filled with the atmosphere of war from planes and bleeding blood, foretelling anxiety and fear of the future and introversion, but when they felt secure and safe in Qatar, their psyches changed, and their innocent actions expressed their innocence during the exhibition and wished to become birds in the sky.
Also, the artworks revealed similarities between the Qatari and Afghan cultures in several ways.
The local authorities that participated in the evacuation are the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Defense, the Government Communications Office, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the Ministry of Sports and Youth, the Qatar Olympic Committee, Qatar Football Association, Doha Film Institute, Education Above All, Qatar Foundation, Qatar Charity, Qatar Red Crescent, Qatar Museums, Qatar Television, and Qatar Airways.
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