Qatar’s MIA, Mathaf shortlisted for museum ‘Oscar’ awards

The Museum of Islamic Art and the Arab Museum of Modern Art (Mathaf) have been selected to represent Qatar at the prestigious LCD Awards next month.

The MIA was shortlisted for “best architecture and spatial design,” while the Mathaf is up under the “best emerging culture destination” in the Middle East.

Leading Cultural Destinations, a 15-year old company and quarterly magazine dedicated to bespoke travel and destination experiences, runs the awards, which are considered the “Oscars” for museums around the world.

LCD annually nominates museums by region and across five distinct categories – Exhibitions and Programming; Architecture & Spatial Design; Eat & Drink; Shop; and Digital Experience.

The list, now only in its second year, also include nominees for best art experience in a hotel and best emerging city for culture.


According to this year’s list, historically monumental institutions like the Louvre in Paris, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence and the Reina Sofia in Madrid have been left out in favor of newer museums.

Guggenheim - NY

Kevin Gong/Flickr

Guggenheim – NY

The move seems to be a shift in focus from traditional powerhouses and geographic hotspots to newer, often unrecognized parts of the art world, CNN reports.

Qatar’s MIA is the only museum in the Middle East that was recognized for its architecture, and is competing against the Guggenheim in New York and Bilbao, among others.

Meanwhile, the Mathaf is competing against Dubai’s Moving Image Museum and the Salsali Private Museum, as well as Oman’s National Museum in Muscat for the region’s best emerging cultural destination.


Nominees for various categories were chosen from a long list of prospective awardees put together by 74 cultural ambassadors from across the globe, drawn from “the community of the world’s most influential and traveled creative professionals committed to supporting the arts and innovation.”


Antony Satheesh/Flickr


The finalists will be judged by a 12-member panel chaired by Gail Dexter Lord of Lord Cultural Resources, one of the world’s leading consultancies for cultural capital.

Panelists include Justine Simons OBE, head of culture at the Mayor of London’s office; fashion designer Neil Barrett; and ArtNet CEO Jacob Pabst.

According to the LCD website, the jury will be “looking for innovative ways in which both established and emerging museums enhance the visitor experience through exhibitions and programming, architecture and design, shopping, dining and digital engagement.”

Winners will be officially announced at an awards ceremony scheduled for Friday, Oct. 9, in London.


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