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A showcase of the tools and images of heritage sports

A showcase of the tools and images of heritage sports


A new exhibition which focuses on some of the most iconic hobbies and pastimes of the Qatari people, namely horse riding, camel racing and breeding, and falconry, concluded recently. Nawasi, a unique event which celebrates the noble Arabian cultures of equestrianism, camel rearing and falconry, was held at the Doha Exhibition and Conference Center in West Bay.
It was a one-of-a-kind trade fair and exhibition dedicated to maintaining and keeping alive the ageless traditions of horse, camel and falcon breeding, rearing and racing. It sought to capture the attention of hobbyists and practitioners of these heritage sports.
As a ground-breaking initiative, Nawasi aimed to take the timeless art of equestrianism, camel rearing and falconry to the next level, not just in Qatar but across the entire GCC and MENA regions. The exhibition strives to earn a position as an iconic regional event, having already enlisted the support of key government agencies, clubs and associations in and outside Qatar.
The event saw the participation of local youth centres, artists whose works have hunting as its theme, hunting tools' stores, as well as several local veterinary centres and international exhibitors selling equestrian equipment and feed. Visiting exhibitors came from Bahrain, Yemen and even as far afield as Hungary and Germany.
Qatar Tribune spoke with some of the organisers and participants in the event to gain a sense of the significance of this and similar exhibitions for the people of Qatar.
Abdullah Mohammed al Kuwari, an official with the Ministry of Culture and Sports inaugurated the Nawasi exhibition. He stressed the value of this and similar events on the educational level, noting that"while the exhibition may address itself to practitioners of these heritage sports, it would also serve to introduce young people to the beloved pastimes of their ancestors".
"It's the first event of its kind to my knowledge, to combine the three heritage sports, and I expect that it will inspire people not just to practise these but also to reflect on them as timeless elements of our identity. This is why the participation of local youth centres and cultural organisations is so important," he added.
Dr Maryam Ahmed al Humaidi is the CEO of Barahat Alhemaidi, which is the first Qatari company to specialise in the manufacture and sale of traditional Qatari children's toys and games, which includes everything from slingshots to finely crafted dama boards.
"Technically, Qatari folk games don't fall under the three heritage sports which constitute the main theme of this exhibition, but if the show aims to transmit and keep alive the traditions and heritage of our forefathers, then the participation of Barahat Alhemaidi is certainly apropos. We want to keep alive the traditional games and toys which we grew up with, and in this way we might contribute to preserving and making even more popular some of the best loved elements of the noble Qatari heritage," she explained.
Qatari artist and sculptor Talal al Qassemi, an official of the Souq Waqif Art Center commented on the long tradition of depicting horses and camels in works of art."In olden days, these were some of the most iconic themes of Qatari culture, and so I would say that they occupy a central place in the collective consciousness of Qataris. For me and for many other Qatari artists, this is why horses, camels, and falcons and the objects associated with riding them, or hunting with them, continue to be a recurring artistic theme", he added.

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