Pearl of an idea for nautical exhibition

Milford Mercury: SECOND COOK: A drawing by artist Ben Barbour, who traced a symbolic Qatari pearl trade route all the way to the shores of Pembrokeshire and recorded the people aboard in his sketchpad. (2844136) SECOND COOK: A drawing by artist Ben Barbour, who traced a symbolic Qatari pearl trade route all the way to the shores of Pembrokeshire and recorded the people aboard in his sketchpad. (2844136)

MILFORD Haven’s Waterfront Gallery is preparing to open an exciting new exhibition connected to the town's nautical heritage.

The collection follows the 20 day voyage of British artist, Ben Barbour, who traced a symbolic Qatari pearl trade route all the way to the shores of Pembrokeshire earlier this year.

The exhibition, which is a result of a journey organised as part of the Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture, will open on Saturday, December 7. It will include drawings and prints charting Ben’s experiences on board a Q-flex tanker carrying one of the biggest exports for the region today – liquefied natural gas.

The exhibition will also showcase the results of a collaborative project with fine art lecturer Bryan Thomas, who turned Ben’s drawings into ceramics inspired by 18th century Welsh Porcelain.

Ben said: "The journey and the project have been an incredible experience for me. It has been fascinating to gain a brief insight into the shipping industry, and a great opportunity to explore the historical, economic and cultural ties that exist between Qatar and the UK.

"The exhibition enjoyed a successful run in the Katara Cultural Village Foundation in Qatar and I’m excited to be completing the cyclical journey by bringing it to Welsh shores.

"I am very grateful to Qatar UK 2013, the British Council, Qatargas and Nakilat for having given me the opportunity to travel on a Q-flex and explore the journey first hand."

Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb will be opening the exhibition. He said: “The commercial relationship that exists today between Qatar and Wales, through investment in energy infrastructure in Pembrokeshire, is of enormous strategic importance. It also provides a basis for developing a much fuller relationship based on cultural, social and educational exchange. Ben’s work on the pearl trade route is an exciting example of this and I’m delighted that it is being exhibited here in Pembrokeshire as part of the Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture.”

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