Women have long struggled to make a place for themselves in the world, the art world being no exception. Before Qatar’s art boom our society did not hold great confidence in its artists. This subjected women to an even harder uphill battle to prove themselves as creators. Women were belittled in the field just as they were in everyday life. The rise of Qatari women in the art scene began slowly, but the pioneers who came before us allowed us to thrive and eventually dominate the art scene in the country.

When looking at the rise of female artists in Qatar, Wafika Sultan Al-Essa immediately comes to mind. She was one of the first women in Qatar to study and practice art professionally. Her pursuit for higher education in art paved the way and inspired other creators to do the same. She became an example for women in the Middle East, a beacon that showed them all that they could achieve within the world of art.

As the art world began to grow and women began carving their place, we began receiving the support and recognition deserved. Qatari women became celebrated in art exhibitions such as the Feminism is a Voice exhibition which featured 12 Qatari artists.

Women were able to share their stories through their art and create dialogue on topics concerning women and women’s empowerment. State institutions and ministries began supporting local artists as well. I, myself, received support in order to create my art and put it on display. Qatar Airways would even help me transport my work. The growth of women within the art community has opened doors for future female artists. The determination and resilience shown by those who came before us has helped pave the way for all Qatari artists today. Now, the most important objective is to continue keeping this space open for future female artists.

On a practical level, using these materials also ensures the visibility of my art because they fit well into the world around us, as art and architecture are so closely intertwined in Qatar. The materials I use allow my art to integrate well into any space, thus allowing me to reach a wider audience and the public, more generally.

Women will always face pushback in their field. Judgment and unkind criticism will always follow, most of the time due to gender. It is our job as artists, and more importantly as women, to not fall victim to the negativity. Succumbing to it not only hinders our individual experiences, but also discourages future artists. Being seen through our work is the goal. We did not get to where we are today by sitting idly and creating art in private.

Today, the art scene in Qatar is thriving. From architecture to paintings and sculptures, it has become a prominent part of our culture. The growth of the art community has given women a place to flourish. Women have become a vital part of Qatar’s art scene as we continue to make waves and reach the rest of the world through our work. Art created by women is more than just visually pleasing pieces. They are stories that hold strength and resilience. Qatari women have worked hard to claim their place in the art scene today and continue to prove that they are worth being seen.