As Qatar gears to celebrate its National Day, QNA takes a look at the achievements and contributions of Qatar Museums Authority
The Qatar Museums Authority (QMA) achieved various accomplishments during 2016.
This includes a number of cultural and artistic missions in the form of exhibitions, festivals, performances, educational programmes and cultural exchanges so as to enhance Qatar’s status as a cultural hub in the world.
At the level of cultural exchange QMA launched the ‘Treasures of China’ exhibition which started on September 27 and ends on January 8, 2017 at the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) as part of Qatar China 2016 Year of Culture featuring 116 art pieces – some of them dating back to the Neolithic Age, taking audiences through China’s past.
The programme includes exhibitions, festivals and performances, educational events and cultural exchanges, which all aim to highlight the unique aspects of each state and the common interests of the two peoples.
QMA also organised an exhibition on contemporary art from China at the Qatar Museums Gallery Al Riwaq from March 14 to July 16, featuring works by 15 living artists and artist collectives born in Mainland China.
In the context of Qatar China 2016 Year of Culture, the Museum of Islamic Art organised an exhibition under the theme “Silks from the Silk Road,” which focuses on silk as a special local product of Zhejiang which played an important role in trade along the Silk Road.
The exhibition highlighted ancient and modern Chinese silk works, with around 100 pieces due to be showcased over a period of six weeks starting from March 24 till May 9 in the Museum of Islamic Art.
These exhibitions are being held to celebrate the cultural relations between Qatar and China and have remarkably contributed to enhancing bilateral cultural ties mutual understanding.
Qatar Museums has launched ‘Muhammad Ali: Tribute to a Legend’, a homage to the boxing icon in a unique collection of artefacts spanning the first 18 years of his 21-year professional boxing career, from 1960 until 1978.
The Arab Museum of Modern Art Project Space hosted Turkish artist Asli Cavusoglu’s installation Red / Red.
The installation comprises 17 pieces, including handmade notebooks of drawings and paintings made with red pigments from Armenia and Turkey.
QM Gallery Al Riwaq hosted a monograph of one of the most renowned modern artists of the Arab world: Dia al-Azzawi.
The exhibition, showcased over 350 works across 50 years and a range of media, aims at mapping an itinerary of modernism and profiles the practice of the Iraqi artist.
The Garage Gallery at Fire Station hosted the Exhibition Domestic Affairs in partnership with Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUQatar) and the Doha Fire Station – Artist in Residence.
At the global level Qatar Museums presented several exhibitions including The ‘Marvellous Creatures: Animal Fables in Islamic Art’ exhibition, which showcased the real and mythical animals that appear in legends, tales, and fables of the Islamic world in partnership with the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto which brought the exhibition to Canada.
‘Looking at the World Around You: Contemporary Works from Qatar Museums’ was a great exhibition celebrated outside of Qatar in Sala de Arte Santander in Madrid comprising a selection of modern and contemporary pieces belonging to the Qatar Museums, which holds one of the most significant collections of Arab art in the world.
‘Pearls, Treasures from the Seas and the Rivers’ is an international exhibition with a focus on the history, legend, mythology and meaning of pearls from Qatar and around the world.
Hundred and thirty rare and beautiful pieces from the Qatar Museums collection, as well as a spectacular Imperial masterpiece from the National Museum of China’s own collection were on show, providing visitors with a rare opportunity to see one of the finest collections of pearl jewellery in the world.
Under the patronage of Qatar Museums, Doha hosted the second annual edition of The New York Times “Art for Tomorrow” Conference under the theme of “Technology, Creativity and the City”.
The event brought together a number of prominent figures in the arts, art collections and directors of museums’ art galleries, reflecting the role of Qatar Museums as a national link between civilisations, which aims to promote cultural exchanges.
Within its ongoing efforts to preserve Qatar’s antiquities and heritage, Qatar Museums made remarkable progress in this respect while attaching importance to the Qatari traditions and embracing the future.
Among the most important of QMA’s efforts aimed at preserving Qatar’s architectural heritage and ensuring its sustainability was the successful restoration after three years of work of the historic Palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim al-Thani to its former glory.
The palace will sit as the centre of the new National Museum of Qatar, which aims to represent the past, present and future of Qatar, and includes several donated pieces of artwork and jewellery.
Work is also underway on the restoration and rehabilitation of Al Khulaifi House, Al Zaman House along with Al Zubarah archaeological site.
The archaeological and researchers team are exploring all parts of Qatar for the ruins of ancient buildings.
Among the main exploration projects carried out by the Qatar Museums are the archaeological surveys and excavations in the southern part of Qatar (Alasilah / Rawdhat Othleem) in co-ordination with the German Archaeological Institute which which indicates early human presence in Alasilah site.
Preliminary archaeological work conducted by the University College London Qatar (UCL Qatar) in the village of Fuwairit has led to the discovery of several building blocks and archaeological findings revealing a history of human activity in the region, providing a glimpse into the sequence and nature of occupation.
Various archaeological works are also being implemented in collaboration with a number of universities including the London University and led by a local team to explore the history and archaeology of Qatari towns; namely Umm-al Ma’a, Lisha and Helwan, where skeletons dating back to pre-Islam were found.
The inclusion of the historical coastal town of Al Zubarah in Unesco’s World Heritage Volunteers (WHV) campaign, aims at increasing awareness and reinforcing the importance of conserving and protecting world heritage.
Qatar Museum is playing the role of a national link between civilisations, which aims to promote cultural exchanges
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