Moulding The Cultural Landscape Of Qatar – Introducing Fahad Al Obaidly

Fahad Al Obaidly is a Qatari creative strategist with a decade of experience in the culture and creative industry, currently serving as the Deputy Director of Programs and Partnerships for the Design Doha Biennale at the Qatar Museum. He is a key figure in driving innovation and empowering creative entrepreneurs, leaving a lasting impact on Qatar’s cultural ecosystem. Ahead of this year’s Qatar Biennale, we speak to Fahad and find all the ins and outs of the current cultural landscape and his views on the expansion of the creative industries in the KSA.

What do you want to bring to the cultural landscape of Qatar?

My mission in contributing to the cultural landscape of Qatar revolves around solidifying and enriching regional cultural expressions while simultaneously fostering economic diversification. I am dedicated to creating a platform that not only preserves the authenticity of Qatari traditions but also propels them into the contemporary era, contributing to the nation’s economic resilience. By highlighting the unique regional cultural tapestry through various mediums, I aim to showcase the richness of our region. This involves curating strategic projects from biennales, fairs, events, exhibitions, and collaborative projects that not only celebrate our traditional arts but also serve as a catalyst for economic growth. By promoting local artisans, craftsmen, and cultural entrepreneurs, we can create sustainable opportunities that contribute to the diversification of Qatar’s economy. In addition, my endeavours are geared toward creating an inclusive environment where cultural expression becomes a driver for economic innovation. I believe that a vibrant and diverse cultural landscape can attract global attention and contribute to sectors such as tourism, arts, and creative industries, thereby reinforcing Qatar’s position as a dynamic player in the global market. Ultimately, my vision is to weave a narrative that intertwines cultural preservation with economic diversification, creating a resilient and forward-thinking society that is not only proud of its heritage but also economically empowered for the future. Through this dual commitment, I aim to leave a lasting impact that strengthens both the cultural identity and economic vitality of Qatar.

“Through The Biennale Doha my aim is to showcase the richness of our region. “Fahad Alobaidy’’

What can we expect from this year’s Qatar Biennale?

We programmed the inaugural edition of the Biennale to elevate the presentation of the MENA region designs, curated towards design excellence. a critical conversation about the role of the design ecosystem and its contribution to Humanity. Over 14 exhibitions around Msheireb Downtown Doha, 18-panel discussions at Design Doha Forum, and exchange design programs between makers in Qatar and Morocco. Additionally, the mega event Design Doha Prize ceremony, where we celebrated 4 winners of design studios and designers to be the face of the Arab World for Design.

How did you get involved in Design Doha?

I became involved in Design Doha through my extensive journey in developing Doha’s cultural and creative landscape since 2012. Starting from my role in the creative entrepreneurship department at VCUart Qatar, where I worked on archiving tangible and intangible cultural heritage, I aimed to inspire future generations and contribute to innovative methods propelling Qatar forward while preserving its cultural values.

In 2016, I was invited to shape the concept and strategic planning for M7, the first Creative Startup Hub in the region located in Doha. Drawing from these diverse experiences, I joined Design Doha, driven by a commitment to continue contributing to the creative economy of Qatar.

What designer are you most excited about this season?

It’s challenging to pick just one designer as each brings a unique and excellent creative expression. However, what excites me most this season is the collective showcase of over 200 regional and international design leaders who visited during the opening week of the Biennale. Witnessing their amazement about the talents of Arab designers was truly gratifying. For me, this connection between talent and buyers is the lasting legacy of Design Doha.

“I became involved in Design Doha through my extensive journey in developing Doha’s cultural and creative landscape since 2012. ”

What kind of art catches your eye?

When it’s designing for Cultural Impact.

How do you want to see the cultural landscape in the GCC evolve?

I envision the cultural landscape in the GCC evolving through the noticeable rise of sustainable cities in the Gulf region. The area has garnered global attention, not only for its urban planning infrastructure but also for the flourishing creative and cultural clusters. The focus should be on enhancing the quality of living within the GCC, with a keen emphasis on internal alignments, collaboration, and empowerment. The collective effort towards sustainable development and collaboration will play a critical role in shaping the future of our region.

What has been your biggest learning curve in your career?

Listen more, observe critically, and believe in your intuition.

Less is more or more is more?

The best way to progress is through a slow and deliberate pace.

What is style to you?

Cultural identity expression

What is authenticity to you?

What comes from within, for the benefit of all.