Exclusively From our Chairperson for National Day
Happy National Day! What does this day mean to you and Qatar Museums as a whole?
H.E. Sheikha Al Mayassa: National Day is a moment where the nation comes together to celebrate the unity of our people. As a cultural entity we continue to exhibit national identity in different visual forms. Our national identity is in the fabric of what we do – from heritage to contemporary activities – its all a reflection of our society, how it’s changing yet remains rooted in its tradition. H.E. the Minister of Youth and Sports Salah Al Ali has led The National Committee for the Qatar National Day from strength to strength. The committee has done a great job with Darb Al-Sai. In line with the vision of H.H. the Emir, we hope to integrate the activities permanently within some of QM activities like the National Museum.
Currently on display we have Story of ingenuity by Yousef Ahmad, one of our modern pioneers, in QM Gallery Katara as well as a group of young and talented Qatari artists with Brazilian artists in Here There as our concluding exhibit for Qatar Brazil 2014 year of culture, at QM Gallery Al Riwaq. The Qatari section of Here There was co-curated by Alanoud Al-Buainain and Ghada Al Khater, who were mentored by Khalifa Al-Obaidly. What is significant is the development of the artistic scene in Qatar; art is moving from the modern linear form to the conceptual form of contemporary art. The ideas are great and talent is very strong. So, we continue to celebrate emerging talent alongside modern masters to nurture the artistic scene together with our cultural partners; the Ministry of Culture and Katara.
In terms of projects, we are getting ready to open the Fire Station for local artists in residence. The Mal Lawal Biennale is back at the Doha Exhibition Centre this time with representation from the G.C.C. The much-anticipated National Museum of Qatar is on track to open in 2016. The 3-2-1 Qatar Sports and Olympic Museum is also well under way and will be part of the Qatar 2022 stadiums at Aspire Zone. Our efforts are in par with the Qatar National Vision 2030, where social and human development is at the core of all our programs.
Museums play an important role in supporting the educational developments; and we aspire to transform Qatar’s carbon economy to a knowledge based one through these activities.
Under your guidance, QM has built great cultural bridges and spread its own culture beyond its boarders through the QM Years of Culture. What do you anticipate the Qatar Turkey year will offer?
H.E. Sheikha Al Mayassa: The Years of Culture is a program initiated in partnership with the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I take the opportunity to thank Dr. Hamad Al Kuwari and Dr Khalid Al Attiya, they have continuously supported the cultural program that builds cultural exchanges and puts Qatar in a cultural dialogue of East/West. We are concluding our Year of Qatar Brazil 2014 and starting the Year of Qatar Turkey 2015. There will be a lot of activities across all sectors; from culture, to business, to sports, to health and education, which will continue to foster the bilateral relationship between the two nations.
The Cultural Pass is an initiative that allows special events and discounts to our visitors. We are working with local, regional and international partners in order to foster closer cultural relations to bring people from all walks of life together. There is no better way to celebrate diversity than by bringing people and acknowledging our differences. The Museum of Islamic Art Park enables our local communities to showcase their talents and we continue to encourage them to do so. We also encourage the involvement of the private sector by allowing them to use and activate our facilities in order to fulfill Qatar's 2030 Vision; which highlights the importance of the private sector. The amount of interest from the private sector to develop the arts is quiet encouraging and promises a sustainable future; the QM is very grateful to all our supporters and look forward to another successful year.
How does QM conceptualize and chose their upcoming exhibitions?
H.E. Sheikha Al Mayassa: There is no one formula. Our Museum director’s work with their curators to propose museum exhibitions. Our exhibitions are planned ahead of time; and require a lot of research. We also have spaces in Katara, Al Riwaq and the new Fire Station catering to contemporary and modern art. We also work closely with the Ministry of Culture, Katara and the Years of Culture program in order to ensure a program of diversity to our community. As a cultural entity our effort is always to complement existing programs and therefore all our efforts are a collaborative one.
It’s important to provide a menu of diversity in order for our aspiring artists, students and community art lovers to enjoy the spectrum. The exhibitions open within two seasons, the fall and spring openings, some are locally curated others are in partnership with other museums or international curators. The constant part of the exhibitions is the establishment of a cultural dialogue, it’s important that the conversations continue and the acquisition of knowledge on art history and its movement nurtured. The arts is like any other industry, it comes to individual taste and sometimes what one likes the other does not, however, what is most important is to learn about different cultures, different artists and learn to appreciate diversity. We continue to learn new languages as well as participate with our own narrative.
How does QM try to engage all segments of society?
H.E. Sheikha Al Mayassa: At QM we work with various entities. We have worked with government and non-government entities, the private and public sectors. We are happy to provide advisory and management services to those interested in our work. We are soon launching an educational portal for all the students and teachers in Qatar, and also an internship and volunteering platform for all ages. This platform will enable locals, residents and new comers to Qatar to enjoy its rich offerings.
Our Museums and exhibition spaces also continue to receive great interest from schools. On average we have 3 schools a day; we also have a group of committed teachers who pre-book the educational workshops and integrate their museum visits with their school curriculums. At the Qatar Museums, the resources are available for whoever wants them and we have seen significant growth in students who have participated through their schools. There are also a number of lectures, exhibitions and events that we organize in collaboration with Katara, local universities and the Ministry of Culture. Therefore, there is always something to see, do or go to.
Finally I thank our team at the cultural tourism department for ensuring the visitors to Qatar have a wide variety of activities. I also thank our colleagues at the Qatar Tourism Authority who have worked with us to activate the Al Zubarah Fort as well as other projects under way. As a matter of fact, the weather is perfect for each one of you to take your family and friends and visit our first UNESCO World Heritage Site! Happy National Day to all Qatari’s and residents.
On behalf of the QM family I wish His Highness the Emir, His Highness the Father Emir and His Highness the Duputy Emir, the citizens and residents of Qatar; a Happy national day!