Innovative Artwork Showcased At The Present: The Future Of The Past” Exhibition


(MENAFN- Gulf Times) Charlene Kasdorf, an accomplished illustrator and advocate for visual literacy, has taken a unique approach to her participation in the Fire Station: Artist in Residence (AIR) programme.
Her latest artwork, inspired by archival elements and aesthetics from children's books in the region, aims to deconstruct and repurpose them, allowing individuals of all ages to create new and imaginative characters.
“I've been an illustrator in Qatar for 11 years, and for so long I was looking for inspiration from children's books and illustrations. Most of the elements are coming from the library at the Liwan Art and Design Labs of Qatar Museums (QM),” Kasdorf said.
The Fire Station, where the residency is based, played a crucial role in enabling Kasdorf to bring her vision to life. Her work is on display at the“The Present: The Future of the Past” exhibition, along with 30 other alumni from QM's AIR programme.
Featuring works stemming from artists' residencies, which cover 2021- 2022 (AIR 6) and 2022-2023 (AIR 7), the exhibition offers visitors a glimpse into the inner workings of artists' studios and their unique approaches.
“I started maybe a year and a bit ago, and it grew. The Fire Station really enabled me to do something unexpected with it. I could make stamps out of it because they have a fabrications lab, and that's 3D, which is not my area of expertise. But they helped me make stamps and do three-dimensional work, and it was fun,” she explained.
The Artist in Residence programme provided Kasdorf with a supportive environment that goes beyond her own abilities.
It is learnt that the diverse range of artworks on display at the Fire Station highlight how the AIR programme consistently promotes artists to embrace their uniqueness and explore uncharted territories. This entails thinking beyond conventional boundaries, venturing into unfamiliar mediums, experimenting with novel materials, and engaging with elements they may have never previously encountered.
“It enables you to do things past your own ability because you have this support system from the fab lab, the wood shop, which I used both extensively and unexpectedly. It wasn't in my plan; it was unexpected, and they were really nice to work with, generous, and easy,” she said.
Originally from Canada, Kasdorf has called Doha her home for 11 years and has lived internationally for 20. Her diverse background in graphic design, illustration, fine art, and international education culminated in a master's degree with distinction in Museum and Gallery Practice from UCL Qatar in 2020.
In her website, Kasdorf said her passion for visual literacy and creativity led her to collaborate with museums, institutions, and publishers in Qatar, focusing on research-driven picture books. Additionally, she has shared her knowledge through classes and workshops.
In 2021, she launched a participatory drawing initiative, encouraging spontaneous character sketching through platforms like sketchy-karaktersand @sketchykarakters.

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