“For Amal Al Aathem, a renowned Qatari artist of international reputation, her baby project – the 7th Heaven is a unique artistic institute which is the first of its kind in the heart of Qatar. Rabi’ah.M talks to this highly talented artist about her 7th heaven and the challenges associated with building it.”

As a person, Amal Al Aathem defines herself as a highly focused individual who sets her goals and ensures she meet them efficiently. She is considered one of the most prominent and proactive Qatari artists today who has earned respect globally. Her work has been widely exhibited in the region and in different parts of the world. With an educational background in interior design, education of art and fine arts, Amal defines herself as a unique person whose message not only inspires but empowers the audience so that they can interact with her art and her soul. I asked her about the genre of art she implements, and she defines it as contemporary art and installation works(visual art).

In fact, she is very open to considering different genres of art which she likes working with. Amal explains: “Any type of visual art which is expressive is good for me.” Apart from being a successful artist, Amal has worked very hard in setting up her 7th Heaven Institute; an art institute based in the heart of Qatar. “The story goes back to October 2016 when I launched the institute. One of the primary reasons I opened such an institute is because I wanted to ensure that it is academic along with entertaining. Furthermore, it is the first of its type in Qatar since it targets a huge audience; also, the institute offers more than 11 kinds of art genres which offers a broad variety for people to select from”.

But why the name 7th Heaven? This is perhaps because the furthest sky is on the 7th heaven and provides the connotations of big ambitions, undefeatable dreams and the emotions one experiences after achieving an artistic piece of work which makes them feel extremely happy and over cloud 9.

For an outsider to understand the world of 7th Heaven they need to know that it is a haven for visual arts which is licensed by the Ministry of Education in Qatar. The institute is academic in its context but significantly offers a hub to act like a growth project which allows individuals to express themselves via any form of art they would select.

The journey to construct the 7th Heaven has been a challenging one as Amal explains her struggles: “I experienced many challenges mainly during the licensing, since it is an exceptional project and it needs funding which is hard to find.” In addition to this, she also discovered a significant fact that it was imperative to educate the society about the significance of art, how it impacts and affects people on an individual level along with the cultural significance.

In essence, the objective of the institute is to engage everyone in art as it is pivotal for the soul and on a spiritual level since it is highly therapeutic. At present, Amal is working on a campaign for special needs since she is trying to engage them as much as possible in the society and developing artists out of them. She enthusiastically says these artists are “extremely talented, sensitive and smart individuals.” The fact the 7th Heaven is a unique art institute clearly makes it stand out from the conventional art hubs, as not only is it offering an artistic platform but an academic one to nurture future artists in Qatar.

Written by: Rabi’ah.M