Dubbed “Qatar’s transformative patron of the arts,” the Sheikha has long been considered a heavyweight in the art world. In 2011, she was ranked the industry’s most influential person by Art & Auction magazine, and in 2012, she debuted on Forbe’s Most Powerful Women list.
“(She) has chosen to use the resources at her disposal to give her people access to the world’s best art and to promote intercultural understanding. This choice is not an easy one, nor should it be taken for granted.
Coming from Japan, where art that is challenging in nature faces an opposition that at times feels institutional, I am highly moved by her vision and her strong passion for art.”
Challenges to art are not absent in Qatar, either. QMA has had its share of controversy in recent months, after hosting several high-profile artists and their works over the past year.
One point of contention was QMA’s initial decision to install a now infamous “head-butt” statue, a five-meter bronze statue of two fighting footballers, on the Corniche. The artwork was later moved to the Museum of Modern Arab Art (Mathaf), but has not yet been put up again for public display.
Another issue within the Qatari community has been how QMA spends its large budget. Last year, acting CEO and director Edward Dolman and other organization leaders came under fire for how much they were being paid.
Sheikha Al Mayassa sent a memo to staffers at the time expressing her support for Dolman. However, Dolman announced earlier this month that he will not be renewing his contract with QMA, and is leaving to pursue other projects.
Other Qatar residents have also made it to the top 100 list in the past. In 2012, Qatar’s former Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani was ranked, and in 2011, former Al Jazeera English reporter Ayman Mohyeldin joined the list.