Zaini, Jassim (1943–2012) By Touati, Samia
Jassim Mohamed Zaini was a leading figure in the development of the fledgling Qatari art scene in the 1960s. Zaini was one of the few artists who witnessed the significant social and economic changes that Qatar underwent during the 1950s and 1960s, especially with the discovery of oil. To document his environment, Zaini resorted to realism to create works that depicted local and Gulf scenes, events and customs. However, Zaini did not confine his creativity to a given style or technique. He engaged with various styles including abstraction, Expressionism, Cubism, Impressionism, and Surrealism to highlight aspects of his subjects and the themes of identity and cultural heritage. Zaini exhibited widely, both locally and in the Middle East and North Africa. He was awarded a certificate of honor in the Arab Artists exhibitions in 1985, the Museum Award for GCC countries Riyadh in 2007, and the Qatar Gratitude Reward in Science, Art and Literacy, Doha. Following his death, a retrospective exhibit titled Jassim Zaini was held at the main activities hall at the Cultural Tower under the auspices and presence of His Excellency Dr Hamad Bin Abdulaziz Al Kuwari, Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage, on 24 December 2013.