Khalifa Qattan's Children & Youth Art Exhibition


The Khalifa Qattan's annual Children & Youth Exhibition began in 2004 one year after Khalifa Qattan passed away in 2003. The objective was to commemorate the work and legacy of this Kuwaiti pioneer artist. The idea was first initiated by Jalila, Khalifa Qattan's only daughter, when she thought, along with her mother, artist and writer Lidia Qattan on the best and most effective way to honor her father's memory was by having a Children Art Exhibition carrying his name.

In order to have the exhibition, she needed kid’s paintings. So, she came up with the idea of having an open workshop where children spontaneously drew their pictures from imagination, something she wanted to encourage, and preserve. To get maximum coverage and get as many kids to participate as possible, she decided to hold the workshop in a commercial mall during the weekend. As Thursday was the end of the working week and school day and Friday along with Saturday were the official rest days, she decided to hold the Kids Art Workshop for three days, both morning and afternoon, or from the time the mall opened till it closed, thereby ensuring a continuous flow of kids painting.

This first workshop was an unexpected The 1st Flyier produced for the 2004 eventsuccess! Many kids participated. There was no age limitation, no rules, or restrictions. The only rule was that NO adult was to interfere with the child's drawing. The drawing had to be authentic, otherwise it would be disqualified. Jalila did not want the children to leave empty handed, though the pure joy of drawing their paintings was satisfaction enough, however, Jalila went to the whole sale market and bought little toys and sweets and put them in individual bags as giveaways for every young artist who participated with a painting and as he or she handed over their painting to Jalila, she would give them a little bag of treats, which made them even happier. For Jalila, it was a very heart-warming and uplifting experience to see the pure joy of children while absorbed in their work. Of course, the participation of the many sponsors mainly the management of the mall, contributed to the success of the workshop and later on the Kids Art Exhibition.

By the second year, 2005, Jalila gained more experience on how to go about organizing both the Children Art Workshop and Exhibition and with her mother Lidia, they developed the first Logo. 

However, due to unfortunate circumstances, Jalila had to halt the annual event of Khalifa Qattan’s Children Art Exhibition for three years. That was a very, precious waste of time indeed, because when she tried to start again, many things had changed a great deal, from every aspect. In 2009, despite everything, through her own personal funding, and with the collaboration of one of the mall’s management who tried as much as possible to provide every means available to them, she managed to pull through and started the ball rolling again. 

Jalila desperately sought the government support represented by the Kuwait National Council for Culture Arts and Letters (which incidentally, her father, Khalifa was one of its establishing founders) because she believed whole-heartedly that her father deserved to be honored by his country and none other than the NCCAL was the BEST government-body to honor one of its Icons.

In 2012, Jalila’s dream finally came to fruition, when she managed to convince and obtain the approval, support, and full sponsor of the NCCAL. In 2013, a fixed location was dedicated to the Khalifa Qattan Children & Youth Fine Arts Exhibition and Workshop (with an improved logo and title) which is the Abdulaziz Hussein Cultural Center in Mishrif under the Children’s Culture Department. Jalila still actively organizes and supervises the whole event since no fixed staffs have been assigned for this yearly event. It is still a work in progress.