Neighbours of the Sea


Neighbours of the Sea 

Wafika Sultan Al-Essa and Hassan Al-Mulla

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The artist's imagination and inner world are closely linked to their environment, society, and heritage, as the artistic experience reflects the manifestation of this deep relationship mixed with the creative’s feelings and their interaction with these elements with them being in the center of it. This exhibition presents the vision of artists Wafika Sultan Al-Issa and Hassan Al-Mulla, who are considered among the pioneers of fine art in Qatar. “Neighbours of the Sea” presents an intersection area for the artists despite the difference in the method of expression and artistic style, where the local environment and culture constitute a meeting point and a common inspiration for both. Qatari people have always been influenced by the desert and their proximity to the sea at the same time, and living in this unique environment has always had repercussions on the way of life, culture, urbanism, and popular heritage, and the series of works displayed represent this reflection on the artists as they are part of this society, its culture, and its land. The exhibition presents more than 30 mixed-media paintings, some of which were created by the artists during their residency at the Fire Station Ruwad in Residence (2021-2023).

The Ruwad in Residence programme supports Qatar-based established artists. It ensures Fire Station's connection to local artists of different career levels to create an exchange between established artists and local artists who are participating in the AIR program. In 2021, Fire Station began running the first edition of its Ruwad in Residence programme, in support of Qatar-based established artists. Fire Station nominates artists to take part in this residency for up to two years. The Ruwad artists are offered a studio at Fire Station and engage with the local community through public programs, such as talks and community workshops.

Wafika Sultan Al-Essa is a Qatari visual artist, and one of the pioneers of art in Qatar. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Applied Arts from Cairo University. She is one of the first females in the country to study and practice art professionally and is a founding member of the Qatar Fine Arts Association. She has occupied posts in Qatar TV’s production department as an interior designer and a production supervisor.

Her work was exhibited internationally in Kuwait, London, Paris, and Tunis, and locally in Qatar Museums Gallery Alriwaq, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, al markhiya gallery, and Al Hosh Gallery, among others.

Hassan Al-Mulla is a Qatari visual artist and one of the pioneers of art in Qatar. He was elected president of the Qatar Society for Fine Arts for several sessions. He participated in solo exhibitions in Qatar, India, and Saudi Arabia, and his work is collected by different Qatari ministries, embassies, Qatar Museums and Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Baghdad.