Author ORCID Identifier


Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts


Dean's Office Qatar

First Advisor

Yasmeen Suleiman

Second Advisor

Stella Colaleo

Third Advisor

Jacqulyn Ann Williams


In the 1960s, when my father was only thirteen years old, he took a perilous journey on a boat alone from Sistan va Baluchestan, Iran, to Qatar, in the hopes of a better life. Like many long-term residents from Balochistan, my father has lived in Qatar for decades, predating the establishment of the modern state of Qatar itself in 1971. His legal position in the country today remains subject to the Kafala system, and his residency is subject to his employment status, which must be renewed each year. In other words, permanency is never guaranteed, nor is future planning.

In 1984, my father was mandated to move to Al Baluche Camp, then a hidden place on the outskirts of Doha, emphasizing this permanent-temporariness. When moving to the camp, the government issued contracts for all the residents of the camp that stipulated that only three materials (plywood, construction-grade lumber, and corrugated metal sheet) were to be used to build their houses, which were officially designated as “temporary.”

Thirty-eight years later, some 15,000 residents of the Al Baluche Camp are now facing permanent displacement from their camp—their only home—due to a new official mandate. This thesis highlights the plight of this misunderstood and marginalized community in Qatar, exploring the permanent-temporariness and hiddenness of this ethnic community in Qatar, by constructing a series of symbol-laden cabinets using the same three basic materials.


© Somaia Nahang Dorzadeh

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