There is no denying that art spaces can be a little intimidating for some people, but thanks to Raiya Al Rawahi, an artist and curator at the Stal Gallery in Madinat Sultan Qaboos, a new concept has emerged in town, where everyone gets to mingle with artists during a cosy, courtyard film screening.
Al Rawahi has come up with an interesting concept where screen art-inspired films are showcased in a cosy setting in the gallery’s courtyard, followed by an enriching informal discussion with guest speakers. “We wanted something a bit informal and accessible to people,” Al Rawahi explained. The concept was a huge success, and it intrigued many locals and expatriates in town as everyone was curious to know more about the film.
The films selected for screening are curated by the Stal Gallery team as a relevant choice for the viewers, combing art and culture together in an environment full of creative spirit. The event has been held twice so far, with the upcoming third screening being planned for the coming weeks. During the first event, Exit Through the Gift Shop, a documentary on Banksy and the art of graffiti was screened, and the second one was entitled Pena, a documentary on contemporary dance.
Some of the guest speakers that were invited to the event included filmmaker Muzna Al Musafir, cultural interpreter Tara Aldughaither, and visual artist Estabraq Al Ansari. “The whole discussion concept is to promote an informal cultural dialogue,” Al Rawahi said, adding that “the concept is set to include everyone into the conversation.” Guests come from different industries and backgrounds, allowing diversity in the discussion, adding flavour and richness to it.
One of the guest speakers, Tara expressed her gratitude and love for the concept, “It was fun and interesting to be part of the event; people were really interactive, and this also brought out the lack of diversity in showcasing the arts.”
As the weather will not allow a year-round screening in the yard, some event will happen inside the gallery during summertime, and will be brought back to the yard between December and March.
The gallery is aiming for six screenings per year. Stal Gallery was founded in 2013; it is an independent cultural project of the Alserkal family in Dubai. It provided spaces for local, international, and emerging artists and curators to showcase their work and talk about art.