The Qatar-Indonesia 2023 Year of Culture kicked off Sunday at the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA), putting a spotlight on projects that enhance the creative and cultural industries in both countries with a focus on sustainable and long-term partnerships.

Opportunity to embark on
culinary journeys

Ramadan will offer an opportunity to embark on special culinary journeys in both countries.
Indonesian chefs will infuse traditional ingredients into menus of various restaurants in the country during Ramadan while special culinary demonstrations will take place at the ongoing Qatar International Food Festival.
At the same time, Qatari cuisine and traditional celebrations like Garangao will make their way to Indonesia.
Collaboration around the shared passion for food will continue over the summer when two Qatari and Indonesian chefs travel across Indonesia on a culinary journey.
The Years of Culture has also partnered with Reach Out to Asia to organise a volunteer trip for a group of young people from Qatar to work with school children in Indonesia.
A special theatrical presentation of HAYATI (Tree of Life): Searching for The Essence of Love, organised and presented by Indonesia’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology.
Created especially for this Year of Culture will be presenting in Qatar this year.
In Indonesia, participants from both nations will join in a cycling tour to the world’s largest Buddhist temple in Borobudur, located in Central Java.
The tour will culminate with a festive dinner and the presentation of a traditional Qatari performance, highlighting the shared passion of the two cultures for sport, cuisine, and the performing arts.
The longest-running exchange programme of the Qatar Years of Culture programme, the Photography Journey, will be organised this year with the support of the Jakarta International Photography Festival.
A pair of Qatari and Indonesian photographers will capture images of traditional practices, documenting and preserving intangible cultural heritage in both countries.
An exhibition of photographs by the participants will be presented in Qatar and Indonesia later in the year.
In the fall of 2023, the Years of Culture team is set to organise a cultural extravagansa in Qatar celebrating shared traditions of craftsmanship and hospitality.
Major events will celebrate vibrant cultural traditions in both Qatar and Indonesia during the Workshop Month (September), a special exhibition celebrating the two nations’ shared appreciation for the rituals of hospitality and coffee-making at NMoQ (October), participation in the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (October) and the return of the annual Cultural Festival at Flag Plaza celebrating Indonesia as this year’s partner (November), as well as film screenings in both countries.

“Our partnership with Indonesia this year is taking us to a new level, where we witness art, cultural and humanitarian events and initiatives, to bring people closer together through creative programmes in fashion, theatre, culinary art, education, sports, filmmaking, politics and museums," said Qatar Museums (QM) Chairperson HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani.
“By working together and sharing knowledge, we will all benefit from Indonesia’s experience in building its creative economy, which includes a lifestyle rich in culture,” she explained at the special ceremony, attended by Indonesian ambassador Ridwan Hassan, several ambassadors from various embassies in Doha and QM officials, among other guests.
The celebration at MIA also showcased a traditional Saman dance by members of the Indonesian diaspora (Rumah Seni Al Khor), a performance on Sasando (a traditional musical instrument from the island of Rote in East Nusa Tenggara by Ganzer Lanaalso, and folk songs by Firdha Rachmadani.
This year’s programme, preceded by the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (Menasa) Year of Culture in 2022, will feature an array of cultural events and live performances, sports competitions, exhibitions, culinary festivals, photography projects, residency and volunteer programmes, among other activities, QM noted.
Speaking at the event, the Indonesian ambassador said: “Essentially, Year of Culture is in line with our national motto, “Bhinneka Tunggal Ika”, which means “unity in diversity”.As a multicultural country, which has an estimated population of more than 279mn, and more than 300 distinct ethnic and linguistic groups, Indonesia boasts such significant cultural, ethnic, religious and linguistic diversity.
“On the other hand, Qatar is the epitome of diversity in the Middle East, with more than 100 nationalities.
These similarities make two countries are less difficult to build strong brotherhood cooperation.
Our Qatari colleagues have been excellent partners in opening their hearts to many new Indonesian cultural experiences."
The envoy noted that the embassy and members of the Indonesian community in Doha took part in three events in Qatar this year: on Qatar National Sport Day, where Pencak Silat athletes and performers demonstrated their skills during an event at Education City; an exhibition of Minang Culture (supported by the Ministry of Culture and QM) at Bait Al Sulaiti last month, which unveils a wide variety of cultural performances; and a friendly competition between the Qatar Horseback Archery Centre and the Indonesian Horseback Archery Association, also in February.
“Indonesia welcomes the opportunity to celebrate our robust partnership with Qatar through the Qatar-Indonesia 2023 Year of Culture.
Thank you Qatar, for always facilitating the diversity.
That we, from every corner of the world, could embrace and celebrate our culture, just like in our own country,” Hassan said.
In a press statement, QM’s Cultural Diplomacy director Aisha Ghanem al-Attiya said: “The Indonesian national motto of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, Unity in Diversity, perfectly expresses the spirit of the Qatar-Indonesia 2023 Year of Culture.
Through our many programmes, to be held in both nations, we will weave together a tapestry of relationships that are as varied as they are strong and resilient.”
As part of the 2023 Year of Culture, MIA is featuring a spectacular collection of Indonesian artefacts in new galleries dedicated to Southeast Asia (17 and 18), which opened to the public yesterday.
According to QM, the galleries remind visitors that the region today is home to the largest Muslim community worldwide, underlining the connection between different cultures through exhibits on the trade of commodities and the exchange of ideas across the Islamic World and beyond.
Displays feature beautiful Indonesian gold jewellery and textiles.
MIA’s Curatorial Affairs deputy director Shaika Nasser al-Nassr said: “At MIA, we tell the story of the spread of Islam around the world and its influence on art and culture.
The new MIA makes that story complete with the addition of galleries on the Indian Ocean region and Southeast Asia.”

Residency programmes to foster creative industries

The year’s special emphasis on fostering the creative and cultural industries will be carried out through three-month-long residency programmes, pairing Qatari and Indonesian designers to encourage direct engagement between emerging talent from both countries.
These collaborative residencies will provide opportunities for Qatari product and fashion designers to discover traditional Indonesian craftsmanship from local masters in jewellery design and metalworking and embroidery.
Mentors and locations were carefully selected from regions of Indonesia best known for these specific areas of expertise: Tasikmalaya (embroidery) and Sumba (metal ornamentation).Each residency will challenge participants to consider issues of waste management and sustainability in their choice of materials and designs.
Final products will be introduced at prestigious festivals celebrating Indonesian culture and design, including the Indonesian Contemporary Art and Design (ICAD) festival in October-November 2023, Jakarta Fashion Week in October 2023, as well as a monumental year-end exhibition at the National Gallery in Indonesia.
Artworks by some of Qatar’s brightest emerging contemporary artists will travel to Indonesia as part of the ARTJOG 2023 festival, which asks participating artists to reveal the intent and motivation behind their work through various interactions, discussions, and silahturahmi (a concept based on Islamic practices about keeping or mending ties between family or kin adopted by Muslin communities in Indonesia) with artists.
Additional community events and celebrations will be announced throughout the year on Years of Culture social media pages and website at
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