Mathaf project redefines cultural narratives, collective memories
July 12 2018 12:05 AM
Qatari artist Bouthayna al-Muftah showcases her work at Project Space at Mathaf.

Qatar Museums (QM) opened the newest edition of its Project Space, titled ‘Bouthayna Al-Muftah: Echoes’, yesterday at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, showcasing the unique works of emerging Qatari artist Bouthayna al-Muftah.
The exhibition, running until September 10, presents the artist’s ongoing research on the recollection of memories and a reflection on the rapid social and cultural changes that have taken place in the country over the past few decades.
“Qatar has seen an incredible transformation over the past few years. This has created a new generation of artists who are not only trying to make sense of this change, but are also looking to be part of it by redefining existing cultural narratives,” Mathaf director Abdellah Karroum said in a press statement.
“Mathaf is proud to collaborate with a talented artist like al-Bouthayna and offer her a creative platform to experiment with new ideas and push the boundaries of what is known and of what can be,” Karroum added.
The project, presented by QM under the leadership of its chairperson, HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, evokes shared local memories and questions current local cultural practices visibly influenced by technology and a growing sense of individualism.
Al-Muftah contextualises the lyrical ‘tag ‘tag ‘tagya, a traditional group game played by boys and girls across the Arabian Gulf to highlight this challenging topic.
She also deconstructs its forms to redefine cultural narratives, offering a symbolic experience in a space in which the past and the present intersect.
“The mirror encapsulates this whole concept of the viewer literally being placed in my own thoughts, and watching the experience unfolds, as if from another time or planet,” al-Muftah said.
“This is my memory, and this is where I invite the audience to see themselves captured in this moment of time to pause for thought, reflection and dialogue.
“It is my aspiration to take these stories and transform them to a non pragmatic way of expression, which evokes the thoughts of the viewers and invites them to contemplate the past, the present and the future.
“The memories of these stories are fragments torn out of a book and are reconstructed to a much larger scale to emphasise their impact and importance in today’s local culture.”
The exhibition, curated by Fatma Mostafawi, also curator at Mathaf, employs different artistic media, including drawing, printmaking and installation, all coming together to archive collective memories and personal encounters, as well as interrogate the relationship between traditional collective stories and contemporary artistic expression.
A Bachelor of Arts graduate from Virginia Commonwealth School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar) in 2010, al-Muftah focused on printmaking, typography and drawing, which evolved into multiple mixed media installations.
The artist’s recent exhibitions include her participation in Contemporary Art Qatar in Berlin (2017-18); the 20/20/20 at VCUarts Qatar’s Gallery, Doha, Qatar (2017); Currents organised by EMERGEAST gallery (2017); Here, There, Al Riwaq Art Space, Doha, Qatar (2014); and the Mini Art Exhibition, Katara Visual Arts Centre, Doha, Qatar (2013). QM noted that Project Space is dedicated to new tendencies in artistic production and emerging curatorial practices, according to QM.
It is one of several QM initiatives that push the boundaries of traditional museums and create ideal environments for knowledge production, dialogue and creativity.

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