Mathaf ('museum' in Arabic) is a new institution in Doha, Qatar dedicated to Arab culture and creativity. The museum is home to a permanent collection offering a unique and comprehensive overview of modern Arab art and aims to become a vital centre for dialogue and scholarship in the region.
From Mathaf's website:
Our story really begins more than twenty years ago, when our patron and founder H.E. Sheikh Hassan bin Mohamed bin Ali Al Thani first began to imagine what an Arab Museum of Modern Art might look like. He started to build a collection that could serve artists and public as a rich and representative treasure-house of modern Arab art. And he saw this collection as a starting point, to create more opportunities for artists and for art-lovers in Doha and around the world.
In an interview with The Huffington Post, Wassan Al-Khudhairi, Mathaf's chief curator and acting director said,
We want to challenge the idea that our modern art is an after-thought, or that everything we created is a copy. Arab artists engaged, shaped and contributed to modern art. (Read the full interview here.)
Here are two other recent articles about Mathaf, A Smithsonian in the sand and Doha's Mathaf museum aims to protect and conserve.
Two things that struck me about Mathaf, it is located in a former school building, (I really love that fact) and Qatar's home grown approach in building its art institution. I'm hoping to visit it soon to check out these three exhibitions and to experience the space for myself.
- Sajjil: A Century of Modern Art showcasing modern Arab artists and works from the collection, some dating back to the late 1800.
- Told, Untold, Retold: 23 stories of journeys through time and space, featuring contemporary artists and 23 new pieces commissioned by Mathaf.
- Interventions: a dialogue between the modern and the contemporary, showing a link betwen the new commissioned works of five artists alongside their existing ones.