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HomeQatar TimesMade in prison: Katara exhibition features artwork by inmates in Qatar

Made in prison: Katara exhibition features artwork by inmates in Qatar


The long-awaited “Athar of the penal and correctional institution inmates” exhibition has opened in Katara Cultural Village in cooperation with Seashore Group.

The inmate art exhibition, “Athar of the penal and correctional institution inmates,” will be running until 17 March, and is located in Building 19, Gallery 1, in Katara.

The 50 artworks showcased are all made by inmates from the Penal and Correctional Institutions of the Ministry of Interior (MoI). The inmates are provided with the necessary supervision and guidance of specialised artists to fulfil their artistic visions.

Whilst the exhibition mostly displays paintings, which account for 36 out of the 50 art pieces on display, there are also decorative boxes, sculptures and dhow models.

The department for inmates in Qatar has a programme in place to help inmates re-enter society once their term is served. It entails teaching prisoners handicrafts like painting, blacksmithing and digital manufacturing, amongst many other skills. Once they successfully master the craft they are taught, they obtain a certificate in the necessary field.

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The programme is part of a national social rehabilitation effort which aims to help the country’s inmates with job opportunities, and increase their morale. The inmates receive half the price of the items sold, whilst the other half is allocated towards paying for raw materials.

General Manager of Katara Khalid Al-Sulaiti said that this is a valuable opportunity to showcase the artistic talents of the inmates at the institution. He believes that the artworks exhibited are an embodiment of Qatari heritage, and a reflection of the various artistic schools in the country.

Katara expressed its support for such efforts that aim to rehabilitate inmates and help them on a moral and material level, as well as provide them and their families with benefits.

Inmate art exhibitions in the country have proven to be a huge success in past years.

In response to the growing demand for the artwork by the Qatari public, in 2015, the MoI’s Penal and Correctional Institutions Department set up a new website dedicated to selling inmate art called Al-Matjar Al-Electrony Le Alnozalaa (Online Shop For Inmates’ Products).

The online shop features dozens of items for sale. Most of the artworks follow a traditional Middle Eastern aesthetic, and the prices range depends on the item and the material used. For example, a painting of a falcon attacking a bustard is priced at 2500 QAR.

‘The Falcon and the Bustard’ painting by an inmate, for sale for QR2500. (Source: MoI)

Those interested in purchasing any of the artworks online and supporting inmates can view all the products online, then complete an order form to reserve goods.

Cash is payable on delivery.


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