Exhibition highlights Qatari culture, history spanning centuries

Doha: “Qatar Between Land and Sea. Through Arts and Heritage” exhibition was the centrepiece of the cultural programme of Qatar, the guest country at the recently held 24th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF 2021). 

The project series is organised by the Cultural Creative Agency and will run from June 6 to August 22, 2021.

“Qatar Between Land and Sea. Through Arts and Heritage” is a multi-faceted tale of Qatari history and culture spanning several centuries. 

The exhibition consists of about 200 items from the National Museum of Qatar collection, the collection of the private Museum of Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani, and Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art. The chronology covers the 15-20th centuries, thus creating a comprehensive representation of different periods of Qatari culture.

The proximity of the desert and the sea made a significant impact on the formation of the cultural tradition and historical heritage of Qatar: the people of Qatar have been neither exclusively desert-dwelling bedouins nor coastal tribes, which distinguished them from the inhabitants of the neighbouring countries. In the 20th century, rapid development and modernisation transformed all social spheres and strata, significantly influencing the traditional way of life of this Middle Eastern country.

“Visitors will be able to see artefacts related to the cultural history of the peninsula and the amazing diversity in its natural and cultural environment. They will learn how people had lived between sands and sea for centuries until the discovery of oil,” explains Sheikha Haya bint Ali Al Thani, Director of Curatorial Affairs at the National Museum of Qatar.

The folk culture of Qatar is unique, and the country has occupied a special place in Arab-Islamic history for a long time. The Arabian Gulf has long been the intersection of trade routes that forged economic and cultural ties between the East and the West. The works of art displayed at the exhibition demonstrate Qatar’s national heritage and culture, illustrating its extensive ties with peoples worldwide.

The exhibition is thematically divided into pearl diving, falconry, religious manuscripts, military equipment, traditional carpets, musical instruments, household items, clothing, and jewellery. 

“This exhibition is a great opportunity for people from around the world to explore the very precious elements of the Qatari and Middle Eastern tradition and lifestyle, such as handmade carpets and artefacts, pearls, and antique jewellery, which makes it a magical journey through history. I look forward to representing our beloved country in the best way possible and taking part in similar future large-scale events. I hope this exhibition will be successful and will attract a wide range of visitors to enjoy unique artifacts,” says Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani, founder, and owner of FBQ Museum

“The project embodies our countries’ interest in each other, in cooperation and collaboration. Created by a group of international specialists, the exhibition reveals to the public Qatar’s multi-faceted culture and its similarity with the cultural values of the peoples of Russia. Through such projects, we discover other countries, learn what matters to them and thus also get to know ourselves better by interacting with the diversity of the world,” comments Yulia Kupina, Director of the Russian Museum of Ethnography. 

“Mathaf is honored to be part of this significant exhibition that reflects on Qatar’s rich culture and history. We are pleased to contribute to the exhibition with the loan of works by artist Sophia al Maria. Her works — part of the Mathaf Collection — were presented during our recent ‘Lived Forward’ exhibition in Doha,” — comments Abdellah Karroum, Director of Mathaf.

As seen on Peninsula Qatar  Image Credits Peninsula Qatar