Qatar Foundation Chairperson, HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser this week opened the exhibition, Baghdad: Eye’s Delight at the Temporary Exhibition Gallery of the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA), on view until 25 February 2023. 

The exhibition introduces and celebrates the significance of Baghdad under the Abbasid dynasty (750-1258) and its influential impact in the region and around the world until today.

Baghdad: Eye’s Delight highlights Iraq’s capital as a political, economic and intellectual hub during a period considered one of the most innovative in world history. The exhibition is presented as part of Qatar-MENASA 2022 Year of Culture, an international cultural exchange designed to deepen understanding between nations and their people; and Qatar Creates, the year-round national cultural movement that curates, promotes and celebrates the diversity of cultural activities in Qatar.

An exploration of Baghdad

The presentation explores Baghdad’s role as a great intellectual and artistic city that has attracted scholars and philosophers from around the world and documents the city’s tremendous resilience in face of war, violence and destruction throughout its history. The exhibition highlights how Baghdad continued to endure, building on the memories of its Abbasid heritage.

Baghdad: Eye’s Delight is jointly curated by MIA Director Dr Julia Gonnella with the museum’s curatorial team: Dr Mounia Chekhab Abudaya, Dr Tara Desjardins, Nicoletta Fazio and Simone Struth. The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated exhibition catalogue with important contributions by distinguished international scholars.

According to Dr Gonnella, MIA is delighted to mark its recent reopening with the Baghdad: Eye’s Delight exhibition, celebrating a remarkable city that has made significant contributions to art, science and intellectual studies in the region.

She invites residents and Qatar visitors to visit the exhibition to learn more about Baghdad and to challenge their perceptions of what they know and understand about the city and its fascinating history.

Baghdad: Eye’s Delight

Baghdad: Eye’s Delight pays homage to the city’s glorious past, concentrating on the Baghdad of the 20th century, focusing especially (but not only) on the period between the 1940s and the 1970s when Baghdad once again became a thriving place with vibrant city life.

Click on this link to view some of the highlights of the exhibition: Catalogue 

The display comprises 160 objects, including loaned works from:

  • Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City)
  • Louvre Museum, Paris
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  • Museum of Islamic Art (SMB), Berlin
  • Oriental Department, State Library (SBB), Berlin
  • Bavarian State Library, Munich
  • The David Collection, Copenhagen
  • Benaki Museum, Athens
  • Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah
  • Dia Al-Azzawi Collection, London
  • The British Library, London
  • Chester Beatty, Dublin

An ‘immersive’ exhibition design includes scenographic elements, including a depiction of the River Tigris on the floor that serves to connect the different themes.

The exhibition is also presented in conjunction with another exhibition, City of Mirages: Baghdad, 1952-1982, on view at MIA’s Level 4, which spotlights built and unbuilt work by 11 architects, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, Josep Lluís Sert, Alvar and Aino Aalto, and Robert Venturi FAIA.

The exhibition is curated by Professor Pedro Azara and organised by the Barcelona delegation of the Col·legi d’Arquitectes de Catalunya (COAC) in 2012. It became a travelling exhibition and has since been displayed in the United States (New York, Boston – MIT), Ramallah and Baghdad.

Other exhibitions at MIA

Also currently on view at MIA until March 2023 is Raku Kichizaemon XV: Jikinyū’ – A Living Tradition of Japanese Pottery, featuring a set of 14 ceremonial tea bowls inspired by Qatar’s natural environment and people and featuring the poetry of Qatar founder Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed bin Thani.

The exhibition unveilings follow the recent reopening of MIA after the museum underwent a facilities enhancement project that included the reimagination and reinstallation of its permanent collection galleries.

For updates and more information about ongoing exhibitions at MIA, visit mia.org.qa.


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