Mathaf, which means “museum” in arabic, is the region’s first institution dedicated entirely to Arab art set to open it’s doors to the public on December 30th. One of the most highly anticipated museum openings of the year, Mathaf will exhibit Arab art from 1840 to the present featuring more than 6,000 works of art.
Mathaf inauguralopening took place under the presence of His Highness the Emir, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, leaders of prominent cultural institutions, international dignitaries, scholars and more than eighty artists last week.
Mathaf is the result of more than two decades of activity dedicated to the development of the arts in Qatar by the Vice-Chairperson of the Qatar Museums Authority (QMA), His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Mohammed bin Ali Al Thani. Originally adopted by Qatar Foundation, the collection was guarded for four years before QMA took on the Museum as a project in conjunction with the Qatar Foundation.
“We warmly welcome the people of our own country and region, and visitors from around the world, to a center of knowledge and creativity that has long been needed. Collectors and curators are increasingly drawn toward the work of contemporary Arab artists, which is a very welcome development. But today’s artistic activities can truly flourish only if they are connected meaningfully to the important history that lies behind these achievements. Mathaf deepens the conversation about Arab art and helps advance the creativity of the Arab world,” stated H.E. Sheikh Hassan in a recent press release.
The museum temporarily occupies a former school building in Doha’s Education City re-designed by renowned French architect Jean-François Bodin in association with Burns and McDonnell. The 59,000 square-foot facility includes galleries on two floors, a café, museum shop, a research library and education wing. Visitors enter the museum through an outdoor terrace featuring sculptural works by Ismail Fattah and Adam Henein.
The Mathaf will open with the exhibition Sajjil: A Century in Modern Art. “Sajjil” in Arabic means “the art of recording” and features over 240 paintings, sculptures, and mixed-media by over 100 artists whose work depict major historical contributions and developments in modern Arab art over the last century.
As art from the Middle East continues to gain an esteemed international reputation, the unique and highly anticipated art institution of the Mathaf will serve as a much needed platform for regional and international artistic collaboration and discovery. Take a trip to Doha, Qatar and make the Mathaf your first artistic stop of the new year!
Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art
General information: +974.4487.6662 / www.mathaf.org.qa