In ART

Anima Gallery


Ghada Sholy,

Founder and Director

Anima Gallery was established in March 2012, with a focus on two main areas: exhibitions and art consultancy. The gallery represents emerging, mid-career and established artists working in a broad range of styles and mediums. With its five exhibitions per year, Anima Gallery focuses on contemporary art and represents local, regional, and international artists. Exhibitions are accompanied by a program of gallery talks and informal group discussions. Students and art enthusiasts are encouraged to hold group visits and workshops in the space. Our Art Consultancy division executes complete consultancy and acquisition projects for major companies, public institutions as well as private collectors. We believe that our mission is to promote art appreciation in Qatar and to create dialogue with the international scene.

What did you do before you opened your gallery in Doha in 2012?
Before opening the gallery, I worked as a news anchor and producer on Qatar Radio and TV. I also attended a private course at Christie’s in New York in gallery management.

Could you tell us about your first exhibition, which acted as a statement for your program?
Our first exhibition was titled Together We Connect. We exhibited works by Qatari artists, regional artists and international artists. Our concept is all about connecting with others, sharing our human, social and political concerns in different forms of art.

Baal, The-Beekeeper, 2014-2015. Oil on canvas, 200 x 160 cm. Courtesy of Anima Gallery.
Baal, The-Beekeeper, 2014-2015. Oil on canvas, 200 x 160 cm. Courtesy of Anima Gallery.

Why did you choose the name Anima for your gallery?
Anima by definition means an individual’s true inner self, or in Latin, the rational soul. That’s what art is all about. It should not be about its commercial value but rather a pure reflection of the artists’ soul and intellect.

“Anima by definition means an individual’s true inner self, or in Latin, the rational soul. That’s what art is all about”

Why did you feel it was important to open your gallery in Doha?
I opened my gallery in Qatar because Doha has become an art hub with amazing museums and an impressive art scene that adds great value to the gallery.

How do you see the international art scene today and your relationship with it?
The international art market in general is expanding its geographical reach, which is allowing for more diverse creativity. However, some galleries in the international art scene in my opinion are suffering from the “Emperor’s New Clothes” syndrome. Too many forms of expression are blamed on art that have nothing to do with art even in the broad sense of the word. We have to all pretend to endorse it otherwise we will be labelled ignorant. In my very modest personal opinion art should never lose some sort of composition and artistic value.

Zheng Lu, Billows, (from Dripping Water Series), 2017. Courtesy of Anima Gallery.
Zheng Lu, Billows, (from Dripping Water Series), 2017. Courtesy of Anima Gallery.

How would you define the identity of your gallery?
Anima Gallery is a space that reflects our belief in free expression through art. There are so many political and social problems all over the world that are addressed by violence. We at Anima feel that we have an obligation to address these issues through the international language of art. Accordingly, we select our artists based on their artistic value as well as the issues they address.

What can you tell us about the roster of artists you represent?
The artists we represent are quite diverse. We try to expand our geographical representation. We represent artists from Japan, Korea, Brazil, Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, the United Kingdom, Syria, Germany, Italy and Nigeria and, of course, Qatar.

Marc Quinn, Stealth Desire (Etymology), 2016. Courtesy of Anima Gallery.
Marc Quinn, Stealth Desire (Etymology), 2016. Courtesy of Anima Gallery.

Which photograph from 2019 best represents your gallery and activity?

Houmam Al Sayed, Untitled 6, 2018. Oil on Canvas, 200 x 198 cm. Courtesy of Anima Gallery.

Houmam Al Sayed, Untitled 6, 2018. Oil on Canvas, 200 x 198 cm. Courtesy of Anima Gallery.
Houmam Al Sayed, Untitled 6, 2018. Oil on Canvas, 200 x 198 cm. Courtesy of Anima Gallery.

Could you tell us about your program for 2020?
In 2020 we have shows for Nigerian artist Alimi Adewale, Qatari artist Yasser al Mulla and Lebanese artist Fatimah Al Hajj and two more that we cannot disclose yet.


A VERSION OF THIS ARTICLE APPEARED IN PRINT IN SELECTIONS, SHOW & TELL #51

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