Need an introduction to modern Arab art? Mathaf opens December

QATAR ART EXHIBITIONS MUSEUM SHOWS ARAB ARTISTS

Qatar Museums Authority announces the 30 December, 2010 opening of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, Qatar with the inaugural exhibitionSajjil: A Century of Modern Art”.

A night exterior rendering of Mathhaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, due to open at the end of December 2010. Image courtesy of Mathaf.

A night exterior rendering of Mathhaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, due to open at the end of December 2010. Image courtesy of Mathaf.

Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art is a new institution for Arab culture and creativity. Home to a unique permanent collection that offers a rare comprehensive overview of modern Arab art.”

Mathaf (pronounced Mat-haff, which means “museum” in Arabic) will house the result of two decades of work by the Qatar Museums Authority (QMA) vice-chairman Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Mohammed bin Ali Al-Thani and includes contributions to Arab art from the 1840’s onwards. The re-designed school building by French architect Jean-François Bodin is located in Doha’s Education City and will house the collection until a more permanent home is determined for it at a later date.

A front exterior rendering of Mathhaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, due to open at the end of December 2010. French architect Jean-Francois Bodin was responsible for the design of the Museum. Image courtesy of Mathaf.

A front exterior rendering of Mathhaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, due to open at the end of December 2010. French architect Jean-Francois Bodin was responsible for the design of the Museum. Image courtesy of Mathaf.

According to QMA Chairperson Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani who is overseeing the Mathaf project, Qatar will be “the place to see, explore and discuss the creations of Arab artists of the Moren era and our own time.”

The inaugural exhibition “Sajjil: A Century of Modern Art” will open at the Museum on 30 December this year and will feature works by over 100 of the artists in the collection. “Sajjil”, literally meaning the act of recording, will exhibit the pivotal experiments in aesthetics that contributed to Modern Arab art.

“Sajjil: A Century of Modern Art” has been organised and curated by Dr. Nada Shabout, guest curator and consultant, Associate Professor of Art History and Director of the Contemporary Arab and Muslim Cultural Studies Institute at the University of North Texas, and Wassan Al-Khudhairi, Mathaf’s Chief Curator and Acting Director.

Wassan Al Khudhairi, Acting Director and Chief Curator of the soon-to-be-completed Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art. Image courtesy of Mathaf.

Wassan Al Khudhairi, Acting Director and Chief Curator of the soon-to-be-completed Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art. Image courtesy of Mathaf.

Two further exihibitons will also run in a new temporary exhibition space located in the grounds of the Museum of Islamic Art.

“Interventions”, on view from 30 December, 2010 to 28 May, 2011 and curated by Dr. Shabout, celebrates the work and artistic development of five major modern Arab artists, who were instrumental in introducing and negotiating modernism in the Arab world, and remain productive and influential today. “Interventions” features works from Mathaf’s permanent collection alongside a newly commissioned work by each artist.

“Told/Untold/Retold”, showing at the same time as “Interventions” and curated by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, features newly commissioned work by 23 contemporary artists with roots in the Arab world. Through the central theme of storytelling, the exhibition attests to art not as a finished product for contemplation but as a site of navigation to be explored.

“Told/Untold/Retold” will be the first large-scale contemporary art exhibition in Doha. The names of the artists for each of these exhibitions are yet to be released.

SA/KN/HH

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