Qatar Museums (QM) Wednesday announced a wide-ranging series of cultural initiatives in fall 2022 that confirm the nation’s position as a preeminent arts and culture destination in the region and internationally.
The programme will begin in September, with exhibitions remaining on view into 2023. The announcement follows the recent transformation of Qatar Creates from a limited period of events into a year-round national cultural movement that curates, promotes and celebrates the diversity of cultural activities in Qatar.
Anchoring the cultural programme is the opening in October of a completely reimagined and reinstalled Museum of Islamic Art (MIA), designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect I M Pei, a celebrated landmark in the heart of Doha. The MIA will present its collection in completely new thematic interpretations to engage with audiences both local and international. It will also include a new family trail.
Accompanying the reopening of the MIA is a wide-ranging programme of exhibitions across eight museums and galleries in Doha. These include 'Baghdad: Eye’s Delight' at the (image) Museum of Islamic Art showcasing one of the greatest cities in the Islamic world; contemporary multimedia creations by artists Sophia al-Maria and Taysir Batniji at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art; an exhibition on the rich cultural heritage of nomads in the Central Sahara, Arab Middle East and Central Eurasia/Mongolia at the National Museum of Qatar; a show celebrating the history of football and the sport’s greatest competitions at the recently opened 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum; Maison Valentino exhibition that pays homage to its founder at M7; exhibitions on the Art Mill Museum of international modern and contemporary art, designed by Alejandro Aravena and ELEMENTAL, and on the Lusail Museum, designed by Herzog & de Meuron, giving visitors their first glimpse of what they can expect from these two new art institutions now being developed by Qatar Museums.
As Qatar prepares for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, Qatar Museums is also transforming the nation’s landscape into a vast outdoor art museum with the installation by fall 2022 of more than 40 new and commissioned public artworks throughout Doha and the nation, in a variety of public spaces, including parks and shopping areas, educational and athletic facilities, Hamad International Airport and Qatar Rail stations, as well as select stadiums that will host World Cup matches.
Many of the QM exhibitions for autumn 2022 are part of the Qatar-Menasa 2022 Year of Culture programme. In the World Cup year, QM has greatly expanded this annual initiative of bilateral exchange to celebrate the cultures of two dozen nations of the Menasa region. Exhibitions include:
* Sophia al-Maria: Invisible Labours, Daydream therapy; September 16 – January 21, 2023; Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art; Part of Qatar-Menasa 2022 Year of Culture
The exhibition brings together existing and new works for the Qatari American artist’s first large-scale, multi-part museum exhibition in the Middle East. For this exhibition project, al-Maria invites various artists, curators, scholars and communities into a dialogue around histories, dreaming, futures and the Gulf’s relation to the surrounding regions. The exhibition, which consists of a variety of media including installations, video-work and commissioned soundscapes, foregrounds the importance of storytelling and speculative narratives as strategies of survival, imagination, and reclaiming stories.
The exhibition is curated by researcher and independent curator Amal al-Haag in close collaboration with Mathaf's assistant curator Abdulrahman Mohamed Alkubaisi.
Taysir Batniji, 'Suspended Time', 2006.
* Taysir Batniji: No Condition is Permanent; September 16 – January 21, 2023; Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha; Part of Qatar-Menasa 2022 Year of Culture
Presented within a global context of social uncertainty and fragility of historical narratives, the exhibition No Condition is Permanent is conceived as a reflective space dedicated to the artist Taysir Batniji. The show is a survey that puts works in dialogue, featuring productions and reproductions of his art created between 1997 and 2022. During this period, the artist lived in France, but his life and work meditate on Palestine. While the exhibition’s title refers to a single artwork, the curatorial narrative and works on display look at Batniji’s diverse practice using photography, drawing, video, installation and performance. This exhibition is co-curated by Abdellah Karroum and Lina Ramadan.
* Majaz: Contemporary Art Qatar; September 16 – February 25, 2023; Location: Masrah Almaared, Mathaf; Part of Qatar-Menasa 2022 Year of Culture
The Fire Station: Artist in Residence will celebrate young local and regional talent in Majaz: Contemporary Art Qatar. The Artist in Residence Alumni Exhibition will celebrate five years of the Artist in Residence (AIR) programme at the Fire Station and the flourishing art scene in Qatar. In January 2021, the Fire Station invited 14 AIR alumni to participate in a six-month-long programme to develop new works for this exhibition. An additional 25 AIR alumni will be featured in the exhibition, where they will showcase works in a variety of disciplines including painting, sculpture and new media, and explore different perspectives and reflections to unveil personal, cultural and global concepts. The works will be displayed in dialogue with each other highlighting elements of storytelling.
The exhibition is curated by Saida al-Khulaifi, acting head of Residency Programmes, and Amal Zeyad Ali, Exhibitions co-ordinator at the Fire Station.
* World of Football; 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum; October 1 – April 1, 2023
Qatar is hosting the FIFA World Cup this year —the first time the world's biggest football tournament will be held in the Middle East. The Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum’s World of Football exhibition celebrates this historic occasion. And like a football match itself, it is displayed over two halves. The first half—Football for All, All for Football - examines the universal and global appeal of football; the beautiful game that is played, watched and enjoyed by millions regardless of age, gender, nationality or socioeconomic status. The second half - The Road to Doha - follows the long journey to Qatar 2022, from the first FIFA World Cup matches in Uruguay in 1930, to the final at the Lusail Stadium on December 18. Visitors to the exhibition can relive memories of some of the greatest World Cup moments of the past, get behind the scenes of Qatar’s successful bid to welcome the world, and see the country’s plans.
The final FIFA Making Memories section will grow during the exhibition, as objects and artefacts are added to celebrate and record historic milestones as teams make new World Cup history at Qatar 2022. The exhibition is supported by FIFA Museum, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, National Football Museum (UK), Musée National du Sport (France) and Qatar Football Association.
* Labour of Love: Embroidering Palestinian History; October 12 – January 28, 2023; QM Gallery Katara; Part of Qatar-Menasa 2022 Year of Culture
Labour of Love: Embroidering Palestinian History will take visitors on a journey of discovery of 'tatreez' embroidery as woven into the social, economic and political fabric of Palestinian society, through different historical periods.
The exhibition elucidates the symbols of traditional embroidered Palestinian dress (thobe), and explores 'tatreez' through the lenses of gender, labour, commodification and class.
The exhibition thus traces the shift of 'tatreez' from a personal practice, made with love, to national symbol, and onto a product circulating in the global marketplace.
The exhibition is curated by Baha Jubeh, Collections manager at the Palestinian Museum, and draws from collections of Qatar Museums and the Palestinian Museum.
* Experience Al Jazeera; October 19 – March 2023; Fire Station, Doha
Experience Al Jazeera captures how Al Jazeera Media Network, over the past 25 years, has grown from a single pioneering TV channel to a global media phenomenon. The exhibition explores the meteoric trajectory of Al Jazeera, its emphasis on the human story, its founding values, editorial integrity, creative processes and the technologies involved in the creation of award-winning content in multiple formats across a range of platforms. The Al Jazeera exhibition also includes interactive exhibits, such as a ‘Studio Experience’, where visitors can experience the Al Jazeera studio setting first-hand, and an ‘Al Jazeera Immersive’ section, which explores the use of virtual and augmented reality storytelling techniques in broadcasting. The Experience Al Jazeera exhibit illustrates the Network’s commitment to professionalism, independent journalism in the pursuit of the truth to inform and inspire its audiences globally.
* Art Mill Museum 2030; Qatar Flour Mill Warehouse and Al Najada Heritage House #15, Doha; October 24 – March 30, 2023
The Art Mill Museum 2030 exhibition announces the future museum of international modern and contemporary art developed by Qatar Museums in Doha. It introduces the vision and the definition of the museum, conceived by Catherine Grenier, as well as the architecture by the studio ELEMENTAL, led by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Alejandro Aravena. Due to open in 2030, the Museum will transform an industrial flour mill site on the Corniche. It will include a Creative Village and a Garden by VOGT Landscape Architects, led by Günther Vogt. The Art Mill Museum will house an exceptional and completely international collection constituted over the last 40 years with multidisciplinary works of great diversity, dating from 1830 to the present.
The exhibition will present the vision of the museum, the architectural project, and the signature garden. To reflect the transformation of the site and to demonstrate how the Art Mill Museum will be a place for contemporary creativity, artists have been commissioned to create films and photographs establishing parallels between the former flour mill and the future museum. The exhibition will take place in two locations in Doha: the site of the flour mill plant that will later welcome the new construction and the recently restored Al Najada Heritage House #15.
The exhibition is curated by Aurélien Lemonier, Art Mill Museum curator of Architecture, Design and Gardens, and Maryam al-Thani, curator, Exhibitions Department, Qatar Museums.
* Practical information:
Site 1 – Qatar Flour Mills Warehouse: From Flour to Art
Access: Prior reservations are necessary on Qatar Museums website.
Times: Saturday to Thursday, 10am to 5pm, Friday 2pm to 7pm
Site 2 – Al Najada Heritage House # 15: The Museum’s Garden
Address: Al Najada District, Old Doha
Times: Saturday to Thursday, 10am to 5pm, Friday 2pm to 7pm
Prior reservations are necessary on the Qatar Museums website.
* Lusail Museum: Tales of a Connected World; QM Gallery Al Riwaq; October 24 – 2023
Qatar Museums will present a special exhibition at Al Riwaq Gallery that introduces a new museum designed by Herzog & de Meuron currently under development in Lusail. The new museum will draw on its world-class collection of Orientalist art, archaeological artefacts, and media from prehistoric times to the 21st century to create a new, enlightened, and constructive way of looking at the world to understand who we are, where come from, and where we are going.
The exhibition, anchored in Lusail, home of Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed bin Thani, founder of Qatar, will explore moments of encounter and the vast networks across the Indian Ocean World, which make connections possible. The exhibition is curated by Dr. Xavier Dectot, Director of the Lusail Museum, with Kholood al-Fahad, curator; Monira al-Khayarin, researcher, Dr Sophie Bostock, curator of Drawings, and Dr Giles Hudson, curator of Photographs. The exhibition is designed in collaboration with museum specialists Studio Adrien Gardère and Barker Langham.
* Baghdad: Eye’s Delight; October 26 – February 25, 2023; Museum of Islamic Art; Part of Qatar-Menasa 2022 Year of Culture
Baghdad: Eye’s Delight celebrates Baghdad as the most important and influential city ever created in the Islamic world. The exhibition will reveal Baghdad’s outstanding heritage as the capital of the great Abbasid caliphs but also of the 20th century when the city once again experienced a renewed period of prosperity with the discovery of oil. The display takes the visitor on an imaginary tour across centuries, highlighting Baghdad’s role as a city of power, scholarship, and riches. It also explores Baghdad’s role as a city of industry and commerce, from the flourishing trade under the Abbasids to the development of modern infrastructure in the 20th century. The journey ends with a look at the city’s social fabric, its cosmopolitan population and many traditions, which have – despite war and destruction – enabled the city to thrive, time and time again. The exhibition is jointly curated by Dr Julia Gonnella, director, Museum of Islamic Art and MIA Curatorial Team: Dr Mounia Chekhab Abudaya, Dr Tara Desjardins, Nicoletta Fazio and Simone Struth. The exhibition features objects on loan from 22 lenders including the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Benaki Museum, the Vatican, and the Barjeel Foundation.
* On the Move; October 27 – January 14, 2023; National Museum of Qatar
On the Move explores the lives of nomadic and semi-nomadic pastoralists across three distinct regions: Central Sahara, Qatar, and Mongolia. The exhibition explores how these groups have created and maintained rich and meaningful social lives while producing complex and beautiful cultural forms in challenging environments. On the Move features a rich selection of objects, historical images, and archival footage from the collections of the National Museum of Qatar and other Qatar Museums’ Collections, along with loans from international museums including the National Museum of Mongolia, Musée du Quai Branly and Weltmuseum Vienna, among other institutions. The exhibition is curated by Prof Lila Abu-Lughod (Department of Anthropology, Columbia University); Tania al-Majid (associate curator of Social History and Ethnography, National Museum of Qatar); Faisal al-Naimi (director of Archaeology, Qatar Museums); Dr Haya al-Thani (director of Curatorial Affairs, National Museum of Qatar); Dr Anja Fischer (Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Vienna); and Dr Elizabeth Turk (Department of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge).
* Forever Valentino; October 2022 – April 2023; M7
On occasion of Qatar Creates 2022, Maison Valentino will pay homage to its founder with an exhibition curated by Massimiliano Gioni and Alexander Fury. Forever Valentino will be Maison Valentino’s largest show to date and its first presentation in the Middle East.
Currently on View:
* Your Brain to Me, My Brain to You; through December 20; National Museum of Qatar
Your Brain to Me, My Brain to You is a new large-scale immersive video installation by internationally renowned Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist. Commissioned by the National Museum to meet the unique dimensions of its gallery, the video is the artist’s first museum installation in the Middle East. The installation invites visitors to embark on a journey of self-discovery through a multisensory experience that inspires introspection and awe. A key feature of the work are “pixels” that comprise 12,000 LED lights strung on cables throughout the gallery for visitors to navigate. Representing neurons, constantly firing and communicating with each other, the pulsing resin-encased bulbs have been programmed in choreography with a soundscape and featuring abstract footage of Qatar’s landscapes. Your Brain to Me, My Brain to You is curated by Qatar Museums’ curatorial adviser, Tom Eccles, with the National Museum’s head of Exhibitions, Bouthayna M Baltaji.
* A Sneak Peek at Qatar Auto Museum Project; through January 20, 2023; Mawater Gallery, National Museum of Qatar
The National Museum of Qatar presents A Sneak Peek at Qatar Auto Museum Project, an exhibition introducing the new Qatar Auto Museum, designed by the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, led by Pritzker Architecture Prize winning architect Rem Koolhaas. The exhibition explores the significance of automotive design in the 20th century and the impact of automobiles on culture.