Under the slogan “We work together to enhance the Qatari national identity,” the Qatari Forum for Authors held a lecture on Thursday evening (June 4, 2020) by Salma Al-Nuaimi, who is a cultural advisor at the Cultural Village Foundation (Katara), and head of the Foundation’s Heritage Committee, on the forum’s YouTube channel. The lecture was about “the national identity in our popular crafts”.
The lecture dealt with the important role of traditional crafts in promoting national identity in general, and in the State of Qatar in particular. She said that handicrafts in any country in the world are a measure of development and urbanization for any of the peoples of the world, and express the intellectual and creative advancement of countries and their peoples, “There is no country or people without handicrafts.”
She added that handicraft products are not only for use, but carry historical and artistic values, including floral and engineering motifs, and this makes them give a valuable product, based on the quality of production, pointing out that the traditional folk craftsman acquired this profession through practice, not through education.
She described handicrafts in Qatar as being numerous and varied, and used in daily life, “including what is used inside and outside the home.” She pointed to the impact of the land and marine environments on handicrafts, through daily coexistence.
She gave some examples of traditional crafts in Qatar, including the construction profession, where houses were made of mud and carried aesthetic forms, and tents were moved with the people who live in the desert, so that they would have a safe dwelling there.
She said that total number of the handicrafts in Qatar is about 40 handicrafts, including traditional clothes, leather tanning, sadu, and others, and they were used in human life in the past, and they also carry aspects of social solidarity. “These crafts are not based on one person, but on a group of workers, which contributed to achieving social solidarity within the same society, by achieving love and harmony.
She pointed to the importance of the Sadu craft, “which is one of the important handicrafts, in addition to other traditional crafts that were used in marine life, including handcraft, which were used in the ancient profession of diving.”
She said that all these crafts enhance the national identity, and distinguish Qataris from other peoples, noting that the clothes and ornaments that were carried by traditional clothes were inspired and inferred from the Qatari environment, including women’s clothing, which reflects the Qatari identity through designs, in addition to the designs of men’s clothes that represent the identity of the Qatari person, as the way and manner of wearing clothes distinguishes Qatari citizens from other citizens of neighboring countries.
Al-Nuaimi also talked about the important role of handicrafts in the field of tourism, emphasizing that no country in the world is devoid of handicrafts, as they are available in popular markets, which offer traditional crafts, and reflect the importance of this ancient heritage, “Therefore, traditional crafts greatly support tourism, until it has become a pillar of the economy of many countries, as some countries get benefit of these crafts to attract tourists, highlighting the identity and culture of these countries.
In this context, she hoped that popular markets for craftsmen and training centers deal with traditional handcrafts in the State of Qatar, in accordance of the importance of the great role that traditional crafts play in enhancing national identity.