Valentino helps open VCUQatar’s Tasmeem Doha 2015

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Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar in partnership with the Qatar Foundation launched Tasmeem Doha 2015, its biennial art and design conference, on March 8, featuring a special conversation with legendary fashion designer and master couturier Valentino Garavani.

Tasmeem Doha 2015: "3ajeeb!" is open to the public and takes place at VCUQatar through March 12, with presentations each afternoon. The 2015 edition of Tasmeem Doha focuses on the theme of playfulness as expressed by the Arabizi word 3ajeeb! (ahh-jhee-b) meaning “strange in a strange way, cool in a cool way, and slightly weird in a slightly weird way.” Tasmeem Doha 3ajeeb! will foster discussions on playful processes as a creative practice to generate new knowledge, technologies and discoveries.

Valentino and Giancarlo Giammetti, honorary president of the Valentino Fashion House, were featured guests during the event’s opening activities. Valentino and Giammetti showed the audience a video presentation of the Valentino Garavani Virtual Museum, a digital fashion experience showcasing five decades of fashion history. The museum, a downloadable application that uses real-time 3D technology, allows visitors to explore in-depth not just the house’s archive, but also Valentino’s captivating back story.

Moderated conversations with Valentino and Giammetti, led by Sandra Wilkins, chair of fashion design for VCUQatar, followed the screening, and touched upon the concept of the virtual museum, as well as Valentino’s professional and personal insights into the world of couture fashion. Following the conversation, members of the audience, including students, participated in a Q&A session.

“We are grateful to Qatar Foundation for providing such an extraordinary opportunity to our students,” said VCUQatar Dean Allyson Vanstone. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime event, and Mr. Valentino and Mr. Giammetti were truly delightful and generous guests.”

Pors & Rao, a Bangalore-based Indo-Danish art duo, delivered the event’s opening address. The duo make sculptures and installations that often involve mechanical movement and responsive behaviors. Pors & Rao are particularly interested in the involuntary aspects of human behavior - of what lies outside our knowledge and control.

The 3ajeeb! studios feature 26 workshops led by multidisciplinary artists, designers, architects, performers and musicians. Participation in the 3-day workshops is limited to faculty, students and select guests.

The conference will wrap up with the Festival Day on March 12. Attendees can play an artist mini-golf course, engage in playful performances, enjoy tasty treats, interact with exhibitions, and purchase goods from local artists, designers and creative makers.

The closing event will feature filmmaker and social media phenomenon, Casey Neistat, who lands in Doha and leaps onto the stage for a one-night speaking performance on March 12 at 6 p.m. For more detailed information please visit


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