In a landmark international TV interview, HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums (QM), spoke exclusively to CNN International on QM’s ambitions and focus for developing arts, heritage and creativity in Qatar.
The interview was a highlight of the launch episode of CNN Style, a new monthly 30-minute TV programme focused on topics including art, architecture and design, which launched on 9th April on CNN International.
During the feature, HE Sheikha Al Mayassa discussed a number of themes, including the importance of investing in culture, QM’s focus on nurturing emerging talent, bringing contemporary artists to Qatar and QM’s latest exhibition as part of the Qatar China 2016 Year of Culture: What About the Art? Contemporary Art from China. The exhibition, curated by renowned Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang features the works of 15 of China’s most significant contemporary artists and is currently on show at the QM Gallery, Al Riwaq until 16 July.
Commenting during the interview on turning Qatar into a “world-class destination for culture”, HE Sheikha Al Mayassa said:
I think for as long as I can remember, art has been part of our culture. It has always been part of our identity, whether it’s preserving heritage, archaeology, excavation and collecting all sorts of art.’
Launching the Fire Station ‘Artist in Residence’ initiative to nurture the talent of young Qatari artists and residents in Qatar.
During the interview, HE Sheikha Al Mayassa is credited with transforming Qatar’s old Civil Defence building into studio spaces for artists, known as the Fire Station ‘Artist in Residence’ initiative, which is part of QM’s strategy to nurture emerging talent and inspire an indigenous culture of creativity and innovation. The initiative, which began in September 2015, spans a period of nine months and offers studio space and mentoring and tutoring for 20 artists from a range of different disciplines, including art, photography, design and architecture. Qatar Museums created the Fire Station as an artist hub to support the local creative community to encourage an exchange between artists, and to perpetuate the budding landscape through local production and creativity.
Sheikha Al Mayassa added:
We’re trying to bring the best of the best from around the world or the most influential people to think in creative ways, because creative people come up with the best solutions to times of change.’
‘We have invested a lot in education, and culture was the second thing we invested highly in.’
Bringing the world’s leading contemporary artists to Qatar.
*Video from CNN International