Vogue Arabia has assigned Qatar’s Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al Thani, chairperson of Qatar Museums, as the guest editor of its latest— and special— edition.
The magazine’s November issue flaunts the Gulf nation’s limitless creativity and artistic journey, taking readers on a tour of the its exquisite cultural elements that intertwine perfectly with the visual aesthetic of the country.
The team worked with Sheikha Al Mayassa to get a closer look into the country’s remarkable progress in the last decade and also meet some of those who are behind the cultural drive.
The change-makers and creatives who are working relentlessly to put Qatari innovation on the map were chosen by none other than Sheikha Al Mayassa herself. One look at the country’s artistic hub, from the glorious Desert Rose National Museum to the plethora of street sculptures scattered across the country, it’s no surprise that authorities have pumped efforts and investments into art.
“While I am grateful for the opportunity to highlight many of these exciting developments and regional cultural changemakers in the following pages, it was not an easy task, and I could have filled many more volumes with Qatar and the region’s talent,” Al Mayassa said in a letter to the readers.
“Nevertheless, I hope the stories and individuals selected here, who are paving the way for us to truly understand the Power of Culture, inspire you as much as they have inspired me.”
The first of the three covers encourages readers to take a virtual tour of Qatar by scanning a QR code. Birdseye images of the Gulf country are accompanied by a spoken word poem by fashion mogul Ghada Al Subaey.
Supermodel Naomi Campbell then appears on a second cover to underline her contribution in the launch of the worldwide campaign Emerge, which is a result of a special collaboration between her charity Fashion for Relief and Qatar Creates.
“I think it’s so important to be unified, and for creatives to come together without borders or boundaries to express themselves and what they do,” Campbell says.
“I’ve always believed in the continent. I’m so proud of what I see, and I want to share that with the world.”
Nadia Nadim, an Afghan refugee who later became a professional football player and doctor, is featured on the third cover of the magazine.
“When I started playing football in Denmark, I didn’t speak the language, I didn’t know who I was. I was an outsider. But football had a space for me, a place for me,” Nadim told the magazine.
“I know what it’s like when people expect you to be married by 19 and have kids at 21, to prepare to be a good housewife.
“But when girls play football, they show that there are other pathways. Sport and education are two of the most important tools that you use to improve your life.”
New era of art
Over the past two decades, Qatar has invested into its cultural sphere and launched a tremendously ambitious museum expansion programme.
Authorities also worked on providing opportunities for young artists and creatives to explore their talents and push boundaries.
Those who proved their uniqueness were selected to take part in several workshop and internship opportunities with some of the greatest talents at M7— the new innovation and startup hub in Doha’s Downtown Msheireb area.
Qatar is also bursting with enthusiasm as a result of the recent success of the initiative Qatar Creates, which hosts events and exhibitions that expose local and regional talent to global A-list celebrities in Doha.
Last week, Qatar Creates held a week of events, just weeks ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2022, set to take place in the Middle East for the first time in history.
From the stadium’s design to graffiti scattered across the country’s walls, art played an enormous role in showcasing the region’s true passion for the sport. And for that, Vogue Arabia’s latest edition is celebrating Qatar on every page.
“As someone who loves the arts and culture, having the opportunity to work closely with Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa and the team at Qatar Museums is a real treat, and the experience allowed us to dive deep into Qatari culture, in a non-superficial way,” said Vogue Arabia editor-in-chief Manuel Arnaut.
“I’m proud to say that in this edition, we are featuring many incredible heroes.”