Qatar Museums reopened the iconic Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) this week, following a year-long facilities enhancement project and the reimagination and reinstallation of its permanent collection galleries.
Under the patronage of HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and in the presence of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, HE Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Bin Jassim Al Thani and Qatar Museums Chairperson, HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the inauguration ceremony was attended by diplomats and cultural emissaries representing all nations of the region.
The country is also celebrating this year as the Qatar-MENASA 2022 Year of Culture.
In time for the reopening of MIA, Qatar Museums also inaugurated the Flag Plaza, a new community space initiated by the Years of Culture programme, an international cultural exchange between nations and their people first unveiled when Qatar won the bid to host the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™. The Flag Plaza, located near MIA Park, will serve as a community gathering space for festivals, celebrations and events for the people of Qatar.
According to HE Sheikha Al Mayassa, it is with immense pride that they are reintroducing the MIA, inviting the community to discover the reimagined museum, and newcomers, including the many visitors who are coming to attend the FIFA World Cup, to experience it for the first time.
She said that the 2008 opening of MIA was a transformational moment for Qatar, marking the nation’s emergence as a new global cultural destination and paving the way for establishing other major museums and cultural institutions in the region. She said that they look forward to the institution’s next chapter, which comes on the heels of Qatar Creates, a wide-ranging initiative which showcases and promotes the very best cultural experiences Qatar has to offer to help enhance the lives of all who reside in or visit the country.
So many people came together to make today a reality, I thank them for their support and commitment to bringing our culture and history to the heart of our society.
Sheikha Al Mayassa also underscored the establishment of the Flag Plaza, which she said is an expansive symbol of the diverse community in Qatar and the rich connections made through cross-cultural interaction.
She said that its meaning is beautifully embodied in Najla Al Zein’s stonework creation, which will be a permanent reminder of the country’s global interconnectedness.
I invite the people of Qatar and all who visit to make use of this new space, coming together in celebration of our common humanity.
The reimagined Museum of Islamic Art
The Museum of Islamic Art is an architectural tour de force designed by acclaimed Pritzker Prize-winning architect I.M. Pei. It was the first institution opened by Qatar Museums in 2008 under the leadership of HE Sheikha Al Mayassa. Prominently positioned on its own reclaimed island on the Corniche, specifically chosen by Pei, the museum is a beacon for Islamic arts and a platform for international dialogue and exchange bridging past and present, East and West.
The reimagining of MIA’s collection galleries introduces a comprehensive visitor trail, creates expanded interpretive materials to help contextualise the masterworks and provides new mobile and child-friendly resources to make the museum more accessible for families and younger guests.
The galleries are organised according to broad historical and cultural themes, periods and geography, and explore the great traditions of Islamic craftsmanship.
MIA also introduces a new section on Islam in Southeast Asia with a focus on the connection between different cultures through exhibits on the trade of commodities and the exchange of ideas across the Islamic world and beyond.
The enhanced and expanded experience eases visitor flow to serve a larger audience with a reframed entrance and upgraded cafés and retail locations. All improvements to the building are in keeping with I.M. Pei’s vision. MIA once again collaborated with the French interior design and architecture firm first retained by I.M. Pei, Wilmotte & Associés, throughout the reinstallation process.
MIA Director Dr Julia Gonnella said that the extensive enhancement introduces an entirely new storyline that takes visitors on a comprehensive journey – providing a meaningful and enriching experience for children and families to explore the rich history of the Islamic world through MIA’s unparalleled collection.
The Qatar Armed Forces Band Regiment, a musical unit of the national Armed Forces, performed at the inauguration ceremony, followed by the raising of 119 flags representing nations with diplomatic missions accredited by the state, as well the European Flag, the United Nations Flag and the Gulf Cooperation Council Flag.
To learn more about the reimagined MIA and Flag Plaza, visit mia.org.qa.
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