Qatar Museums (QM) opened a large exhibition in Berlin, showcasing the biggest selection of contemporary arts from Qatar. Presented by QM under the leadership of its Chairperson, HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the exhibition, titled Contemporary Art Qatar, is the finale of the Qatar Germany 2017 Year of Culture.

Running until 3 January 2018, the exhibition is on show at Berlin’s legendary Kraftwerk space, covering an area of more than 7,500 sq metres.

The creative direction of the exhibition was led by Sheikha Reem Al Thani, Head of Exhibition Design at QM. The artworks presented as part of Contemporary Art Qatar reflect Qatar’s culture and society from the perspective of the country’s national and resident population, as well as international collaborators. Through their works, the artists share stories inspired by their lives in Qatar, using a variety of mediums including art, installations, photography and film.

Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Chairperson, Qatar Museums, said:

It is an important time for our country. And a wonderful moment to be able to celebrate the true friendship between Qatar and Germany. We are proud of the extraordinary talent of the new generation of artists emerging in Qatar, both those of Qatari nationality, but also the artists we welcome from other parts of the world. We view nurturing artists and opening up new networks as a crucial part of our work to support the future development of our country and also to reflect our belief in the power of art to bring people together.’

HE Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Ambassador of the State of Qatar to Germany said:

This exhibition is a magnificent closing for the Qatar Germany Year of Culture 2017 that has seen amazing initiatives and exchanges across both countries. Berlin embraces art like very few other cities, and is a befitting platform for Contemporary Art Qatar to engage with the German audience. It showcases the rich art scene in Qatar, and creates a platform to engage in cultural dialogue.’

The exhibition has three sections, including:

Articulating the Particular: Contemporary Visual Narratives, which sheds light on the contemporary art scene in Qatar by showcasing more than 100 artworks by over 35 artists, 19 of which are Qatari. It’s organised into four thematic sub-sections, all reflecting in different ways the individual perspectives of the artists on the changing cultural and physical identity of society, and the implications of sudden change on the way people think, and how the community sees itself.

As part of this section, QM commissioned “Shifting Identities” for the exhibition, an artwork by Emelina Soares created using coloured sand. In this work, Emelina recreates the identity of Qatar’s dunes, while also reinterpreting her own heritage, being of Indian and Portuguese ancestry and raised in the Middle East. The sand, which was gathered from Germany, was dyed with naturally fermented fabric dyes from India.

This section is jointly curated by members of Qatar Museums’ curatorial team, Dr Bahaa Abudaya and Aisha Nasser Al Sowaidi.

The second section, Cultural Exposures, Photography and Film from Qatar, showcases highlights from QM’s Year of Culture photographic exchange initiative, in which selected photographers undertake creative journeys in Qatar and the partner countries. The photographs in this section showcase some of the best work from both sides of the partnerships over the last four years. It includes a range of different artistic approaches, from portraiture and social documentary to landscape and architectural photography. Also exhibited in this section is a series of short films made by Qatar-based filmmakers with the support of the Doha Film Institute, through its ‘Made in Qatar’ programme.

This section is co-curated by members of Qatar Museums’ curatorial team based in Doha, Dr Giles Hudson and Maryam Al Thani.

Lastly, the third section, Hey’Ya: Arab Women in Sport, showcases a selection of photography and films by Brigitte Lacombe and Marian Lacombe, respectively French photographer and filmmaker, which celebrate the strength and pride of female athletes from the Arab world. Commissioned by Qatar Museums in 2012, the series features portraits and interviews with 90 Arab female athletes, one third of whom come from Qatar. The exhibition at Kraftwerk shows 28 of the large-scale photographs and videos, presenting an often-concealed perspective of Arab women competing in sport.

Launched in 2012 under the guidance of Qatar Museums’ Chairperson, HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Qatar’s Years of Culture initiative is designed to promote mutual understanding, recognition and appreciation between countries. The initiative encourages the people of Qatar and partner countries to discover their cultural similarities, as well as to explore their differences and engage in mutual dialogue.

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