Browsing 'mathaf' News

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.


Via Gladstone Gallery

Renowned Iranian American visual artist Shirin Neshat has opened a new retrospective at Qatar’s Arab Museum of Modern Art (Mathaf).

New and existing works by the artist span the entire ground floor of the Mathaf, in an exhibition titled “Afterwards” that will be open through Feb. 15, 2015.

The 57-year-old award-winning artist has held exhibitions across the world, including in Mexico, the US, Germany and Sweden, but this is her first such display in the Middle East.

Pieces includes the major photographic series The Book of Kings (2012) and several video installations, such as OverRuled (2012) and Turbulent (1998), which comment on various historical, cultural and political realities the artist has focused on for the past 30 years.

"Women of Allah" series

Kendra Farrell/Flickr

In a statement, Neshat explained:

“The Book of Kings is a conceptual and artistic approach to narrating history, questioning the notion of ‘heroism,’ and capturing the emotional and human realities behind the faces of those who stand in the intersection of love, devotion and sacrifice, yet violence, atrocity, and death.”

Neshat’s “Women of Allah” series, which includes portraits of women entirely overlaid by Persian calligraphy, will also be on display, as are several pieces related to the Iranian revolution.

The exhibition is the second one opened by Mathaf this month. On Nov. 1, a new permanent collection of works from Qatar and aross the MENA region went on display.


Chantelle D'mello

Contemporary and modern art from more than 100 artists across the region has found a home in a new permanent exhibition at Qatar’s Arab Museum of Modern Art (Mathaf).

The exhibition, titled Mathaf Collection, Summary, Part 1, opened yesterday and draws from the museum’s collection of some 8,000 pieces. It features prominent artists like Farid Belkahia, Wafa al-Hamad, Hassan Sharif, Ibrahim el-Salahi and Jassim Zaini.

The pieces come from the vast collection of Sheikh Hassan bin Mohamed bin Ali Al Thani, the founding patron of Mathaf. This is one of the largest displays of artwork on offer at the museum since last December.

Chantelle D'mello

Included in the exhibition are works that show an intersection of African and Arab influences (Ibrahim el-Salahi), a unique French free figuration style developed by Serif Wanly under the limitations of colonial rule in Algeria, and modern Egyptian symbols of social and industrial progress in the works of Seif Wanly.

Other pieces include the works of Hassan Sharif and Farid Bekahia, who use natural materials, retrieved objects and local languages to express their views on the making of art in its contemporary context.

Ahead of the game

Since it opened in December 2010, Mathaf has been one of the few venues that house large collections of contemporary Arab art in the Gulf.

Quoting Hossein Amirsadeghi, the editor of Art & Patronage: the Middle East, Art Newspaper reports:

“Mathaf is pre-empting the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi project, which is delayed (the museum on Saadiyat Island is due to open 2017)… Such new collections, including the Guggenheim’s, will inevitably come after Sheikh Hassan Al Thani’s initiative, thus some of the best works will be beyond their reach.”


The Mathaf’s new exhibition, which takes up the entire first floor of the museum, is part of a wider program of research and documentation, culminating in the online Mathaf Encyclopedia of Modern Art and the Arab World.

Work on the bilingual free information project is currently underway, and it is scheduled to be launched in 2015.

In a statement, museum curators said the new display aims to address the idea of modern art in a way that visitors can relate to.

“Through this exhibition we are seeking to position modern and contemporary art from Mathaf’s collection within the local and global context, and give multiple entry points into the collection, through artistic research, historical moments and aesthetic experimentations on the idea of an Arab modernity,” said Abdellah Karroum, the Director of Mathaf, who curated the exhibition along with assistant curators Laura Barlow and Leonore-Namkha Beschi, and researcher Dr. Yasser Mongy.

The exhibition is free and open to the public from 11am to 6pm, Saturday to Thursday (closed Monday), and from 3 to 8pm on Fridays.