Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture, a partnership between Qatar Museums, the United States Embassy in Doha and the Embassy of Qatar in the United States, announced a wide-ranging programme of exhibitions, festivals, bilateral exchanges, and events to be held in both countries throughout the year.

Established in 2012 by Qatar Museums under the patronage of its chairperson, HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Years of Culture initiative works to highlight and strengthen ties between Qatar and a new partner nation each year.

The Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture programme will feature virtual and in-person events, including exhibitions and installations by Qatari and American artists; events showcasing music, film, and fashion of both countries; sporting events; culinary experiences; entrepreneurship, innovation, STEM, and business events; and educational programmes.

All past, present and future exhibitions, programmes, and events will be featured on the official Years of Culture website.

Mutual understanding across borders

According to HE Sheikha Al Mayassa, their vision nine years ago was to foster mutual understanding across borders on a humane, popular level by appreciating one another’s creative endeavours in celebrating Qatar’s win to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022.

Now just under two years from Qatar hosting its biggest sporting event, our impressive roster of programmes demonstrates the breadth and depth of the experiences to be shared throughout 2021 by the people of the United States and Qatar.

Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the US, HE Sheikh Meshal Bin Hamad Al Thani, said that he is honoured to be part of the effort to share Qatari culture with audiences across the US, and to do the same with American culture in Qatar.

Qatar and the United States have been friends and allies for almost 50 years, according to the ambassador, and he said it’s exciting to be able to showcase a different and more accessible side of the partnership through the 2021 Qatar-USA Year of Culture.

Ambassador Greta C Holtz, Chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy in Qatar, said that the Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture builds on the friendly diplomatic relations the two nations have shared since 1972.

The Year of Culture provides an extraordinary framework within which we can come together to celebrate our longstanding relationship and forge new connections through people-to-people exchanges.

Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture Programme in Qatar

The New Black Vanguard: Photography between Fashion and Art (24 March to 30 May)

The exhibition, which is part of the Tasweer Photo Festival, draws together African and African Diaspora image-makers, many of whom are African-American, based in established creative industry centres across the globe.

Related story: Tasweer Qatar Photo Festival Announces Inaugural Photography Awards

Experimental Photography (24 March to 30 May)

A series of installation by six contemporary American artists that prompt discussion and awareness of the expanded field of photography in the post-internet age. This exhibition is also part of the Tasweer Qatar Festival.

Seagrass Tales, Dugong Trails (March)

The National Museum of Qatar, in collaboration with ExxonMobil Research Qatar, will present a special exhibition on dugongs. These marine mammals have inhabited the waters surrounding the Qatar peninsula for more than 7,500 years. The Arabian Gulf is home to the world’s second-largest population of dugongs after Australia. Recently, the largest herds in the world, comprising between 600 to 700 dugongs, have been recorded in Qatar. Holding both a special cultural and environmental significance, the dugong was chosen as the museum’s official mascot.

US Embassy College Fair (April)

The fair will hold seminars for school counsellors, parents, students, and other audiences, and will feature US colleges and universities.

Throughout the year, the US Embassy in Qatar will also work with Qatari partners to identify and nominate current and emerging leaders in the fields of cybersecurity, journalism, education, art, STEM, medicine, and the justice system, among others, to participate in the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) and the Fulbright programme.

Jeff Koons: Lost in America (Fall 2021)

Qatar Museums will present the first survey in the Gulf region of the work of one of the best-known contemporary American artists, Jeff Koons. Curated by Massimiliano Gioni, Lost in America features more than sixty artworks drawn from the four-decades-long career of Koon, with each gallery introduced by an autobiographical text, compiled from interviews, statements, and quotes by the artist, emphasising his memories, influence and fascination with American visual culture.

Swalif Series

Swalif is a series of virtual programmes that will discuss the US election system, entrepreneurship, mental health, media literacy, and education. It will feature Qatari social media influencer and comedian Hamad Al Amari together with invited American experts.

Cinema Under the Stars (November)

The Doha Film Institute and Qatar Museums will co-host a programme of family-friendly film screenings that will take place outdoors and which will highlight American films.

Programmes in the United States


A multi-city installation of street art that blends calligraphy and the Arabic language, inspired by French-Tunisian artist eL Seed. The tour begins in Jersey City and will travel to other cities including Miami Beach during Art Basel.

Dessert Recipe Tradeoff (Spring 2021)

Chefs from both countries will be challenged to make traditional desserts.

Pearls of Wonder (Fall 2021)

A pop-up exhibition in New York City featuring works by Qatari artists inspired by the history of the pearling industry in Qatar.

The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art in Washington DC, and the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha are all working together to organise an exhibition of exceptional textiles to open in Washington in 2021.

Desert Drive-In Cultural Exchange (Fall 2021)

Taking place outside of Los Angeles at Hummingbird Ranch, the film screening programme is inspired by the rich history of nomadic Bedouin culture. Guests will have the opportunity to enjoy films in an outdoor desert-like environment, a modern take on the American drive-in movie theatre.

Desert Racing (Fall/Winter 2021)

This will highlight the shared love of car racing in Qatar and the United States through a series of races featuring Qatari and American drivers.

Made in Qatar (November 2021)

The screening event will showcase works by Qatari filmmakers, accompanied by talks at the Qatar America Institute for Culture in Washington, DC.

Qatar Airways and ExxonMobil are platinum sponsors of the Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture. For updates and more information, visit

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