The managers of cultural centres, publishing houses, art consultants and art galleries’ co-ordinators have said that the Qatari private sector is an authentic partner in the cultural renaissance in Qatar.
It contributes to achieving Qatar National Vision 2030, which supports co-operation and fruitful partnerships between the public and private sectors, provides a vibrant business climate and a wide scope for civil society activity.
In exclusive statements to Qatar News Agency (QNA), they managers highlighted the private sector’s efforts in cultural development through the establishment of centres, publishing houses and galleries that exhibit Qatari, Arab and international art.
They disclosed the ambitions, future projects and preparations of these institutions to welcome FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 fans.
Among these institutions, which have become prominent signs in the cultural scene in Qatar, their influence has extended to the Gulf and Arab depths and the humanitarian environment: Hassan Bin Mohamed Centre for Historical Studies, Rosa Publishing House, Katara Art centre, Eiwan Al Gassar, and Anima Gallery.
HE Sheikh Dr Hassan bin Mohamed bin Ali al-Thani, Founder of the Hassan Bin Mohamed Centre for Historical Studies, explained that the establishment of the centre in 1997 culminated in his passion for books and documents and his interest in collecting rare publications and manuscripts, as well as the writings of Western travellers who visited the Arabian Peninsula, in addition to local, English, Ottoman and other documents.
He fulfilled his dream of collecting the sources of Qatar’s history from manuscripts, pictures, maps, documents and publications, translating documents, realising manuscripts that serve Qatar’s history, and making them available through print and electronic publishing, in addition to conducting research and historical and heritage studies.
He added that the centre aims to collect and provide historical sources related to the history of Qatar and the Arabian Peninsula, to collect oral historical material and drafts related to the history of Qatar, acquire written historical sources for historians of the Arabian Peninsula, prepare research and historical studies, provide consultations, and researchers and institutions concerned with history, publishing and translating historical resources related to the history of Qatar and the region, spreading awareness of Qatar’s history among new generations, and organising specialised seminars and exhibitions.
The Hassan Bin Mohamed Centre works to enrich cultural, scientific and knowledge research, as well as publishing a number of books, which are sources of the history of the Arabian Peninsula and the Arabian Gulf.
In addition to bringing together a number of scholars, researchers, and those interested in the history of the region to give lectures and hold seminars.
The centre’s publications include an article on Gout by Abu Bakr al-Razi and The Trace on the Moon’s Face by Abu al-Hasan Ibn al-Haytham.
The centre provides its services to the Qatari community through its publications, seminars, discussions, and through its pages online on various social networking sites with the aim of developing awareness of Qatari history and heritage, especially among the younger generation.
This made the centre a house of expertise that provides historical and heritage consultations to a number of Qatari institutions, such as the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Sports and Youth, the Organising Committee for National Day Celebrations, Qatar University, Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, and the Qatari Publishers and Distributors Forum, and makes its library and archive available to graduate students.
Regarding the centre’s future projects, HE Sheikh Dr Hassan bin Mohamed bin Ali al-Thani said the centre is in the process of translating, editing and publishing collections of documents from the National Archives in Delhi - India, and documents from the Ottoman Archives of the Prime Minister’s Office in Istanbul - Turkiye, in addition to French, Dutch and other documents.
The centre also adopts a project to collect oral historical narratives from elderly Qataris, who recount their memories of historical events and years that the people of Qatar passed through in the past.
Among the prominent signs of the private sector’s contribution in the field of cultural development and the advancement of knowledge in the country, Rosa Publishing House seeks to highlight the intellectual contributions in and outside Qatar to upgrade Arab readers’ intellectual culture in line with Qatar National Vision 2030.
Rosa Publishing House is an Arab publishing house that seeks to highlight the intellectual contributions in and outside Qatar, through a Qatari vision, and to develop the society through enriching its cultural life by presenting diverse and well-considered publications.
It also seeks to achieve its goals by adopting young people’s publications and developing their skills by organising training workshops and courses, as well as promoting the importance of reading among generations through cultural clubs and reading clubs.
In an exclusive interview, CEO of Rosa Publishing House Dr Aisha Jassim al-Kuwari told QNA that the number of publications of the publishing house reached about 200 in various fields of knowledge.
She pointed out that the house has issued 13 new books in various fields during 2022, adding that it took into account the excellence of the idea, content and quality of style, in an effort to contribute to the creation of culture of a new generation, support Qatari writers and enhance their creative and intellectual productions.
Al-Kuwari said the publishing house organised 25 training workshops and work programmes on topics related to the art of writing, its skills, and the development of its technical and creative tools, in order to rehabilitate young creative writers and integrate them into the world of writing and publishing.
On Rosa’s activities abroad, al-Kuwari highlighted that the publishing house has participated in many international exhibitions (London, Frankfurt, Moscow, Istanbul, Kuwait, Muscat, Riyadh, Morocco, Tehran) with the aim of spreading the Qatari culture and contributing to the advancement of Arab culture, in addition to benefiting from solid experiences in the field of writing and publishing.
CEO of Rosa Publishing House also expressed the publishing house’s pride in having signed several contracts and agreements with Qatar’s institutions in the field of printing, publishing and translation.
In the field of fine arts and visual arts, the private sector has contributed to laying foundations for institutions and galleries, which have become pillars of the cultural and artistic scene in Qatar and the Gulf and international art, including Al Markhiya Gallery, which contributes to enriching the fine art movement and cultural development in Qatar, since its establishment at the initiative of HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali al-Thani.
In a statement to QNA, the Art Co-ordinator at Al Markhiya Gallery, Anas Kateet, said the gallery’s vision is to promote Arab art locally and globally by building a regional network in partnership with the public and private sectors locally and in the Arab world, and participating in national, cultural and social events, recognising the role of art in expressing the interests of the community.
The gallery has signed several partnerships and co-operation agreements, the most important of which are with Qatar Museums and the Fire Station - Artists’ Residence.
Regarding the prominent stations in Al Markhiya cultural activity, Kateet said the gallery is keen to keep pace with the development of Arab plastic art by hosting exhibitions of a group of Arab artists and holding cultural artistic dialogues, where plastic and visual arts exhibitions are organised in two halls.
One of the halls is Building 5 of the Cultural Village Foundation - Katara and the other is at the Fire Station - the artists headquarters.
Kateet explained that Al Markhiya Gallery pays special attention to Qatari plastic artists in their various schools and artistic trends, and is keen to organise exhibitions and meetings that bring them together with their Arab peers and shed light on their creativity.
In this context, the gallery presented “Summer Collection”, a periodic exhibition characterised by diversity and inclusion, and featured anthology and high-quality models of the works of Qatari and Arab artists.
These experiences and projects formed a framework for an aesthetic dialogue between the various artistic moods, styles, and concerns of the artists of the Gulf and the Arab world.
The artistic style, the inspiration of heritage, the colour mood, the majesty, and other topics set the stage for the projects, and qualitative parts of the project aimed at shedding light on the aesthetics, arts, and creativity of plastic artists in the Arab world in their various directions, sects, and schools.
Regarding the gallery’s activities during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, the arts co-ordinator at Al Markhiya Gallery said they have prepared for this occasion a distinguished cultural programme that includes organising a personal exhibition of the pioneering Qatari plastic artist Youssef Ahmed at the gallery’s headquarters at the Fire Station - Artists Residence, and a group exhibition of Qatari and resident plastic artists, in Building 5 in Katara.
In similar statements to QNA, the Executive Director of Katara Art centre and Eiwan Al Gassar, Mohamed Rafee, said the Souq Waqif Art Centre, Katara Art Centre, and Eiwan Al Gassar were established in response to an urgent need in the local market to establish art galleries, promote local talents and contribute to their development and visibility in the local and international forums.
In light of this vision, in 2007, businessman Tariq al-Jaidah established the Souq Waqif Art Centre, and then Katara Art Centre in the Cultural Village Foundation - Katara in 2010, which resulted in the organisation of more than 100 exhibitions and artistic events, along with dozens of workshops, cultural discussions, and international art auctions.
In 2019, it was agreed with the pioneers of the hospitality sector in Doha (Alfardan Hospitality) to establish Eiwan Al Gassar, a new art gallery with international specifications.
It is considered the largest private art gallery in Doha and a platform for creators and those interested in all kinds of contemporary plastic arts and design.
In the context of enhancing the role of the private sector and its contribution to creating creative opportunities, Studio 7 was established in the M7 building in co-operation with Qatar Museums, Rafee added.
This movement and partnerships represent a framework for co-operation with cultural sector institutions, raising public taste, promoting a culture of artistic acquisition, and supporting and encouraging creators to develop their talents and deepen their studies and practical experience.
Since the 2022 FIFA World Cup is one of the most important events in the world, preparing for this event at the cultural and artistic level is no less important than in any other field.
The gallery’s plan includes hosting a group of art exhibitions for a number of Qatari and resident artists and designers, and a group of diverse artworks that highlights the Arab, Gulf, and local culture in a modern and contemporary style that emulates the spirit of youth and sports, he continued.
Anima Gallery’s Project Manager and Technical Adviser Mohamed Makouk said in statements to QNA that the establishment of the gallery came within the framework of partnership in boosting the current cultural renaissance through holding art galleries for artefacts by prominent artists on the local, regional and international levels.
He added that the gallery founder Ghada Al Sholy was keen to launch a new experience to offer consultation services and decorate the main headquarters of the most outstanding institutions, hotels and public spaces in Qatar.
“Based on this vision, we held, the world over the past 10 years, art exhibitions for artists and sculptors from all over the world including Colombia’s Fernando Botero, the UK’s Marc Quinn, Qatar’s Ali Hassan and Youssef Ahmed, China’s Zing Lu and Germany’s Peter Zimmermann, said Makouk, noting that they accomplished giant projects including decorating the headquarters of QatarEnergy Company, First Destination Hotels, Qatar Airlines in Ras Abrouq and Fuwairat, and St Regis Marsa Arabia Hotel as well as renowned Marsa Malaz Kempinski Resort.
Makouk indicated that the gallery embarked on digitising its works of art in a bid to respond to the inevitability of digital transformation within the framework of its futuristic visions, and to reach as many audience worldwide as possible as well as communicating with further creative artists.
Commenting on the gallery’s projects during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, he announced the gallery is working on three main projects that target the World Cup fans to reflect the prestige of arts in Qatar and offer an opportunity for fans to take photos with paintings.
These projects, according to Makouk, include the Fuwairit Kitesurfing Resort which is basically designed to show local artists-crafted paintings and graffiti art works depicting kitesurfing; sculptures by local and international artists; and Ras Abrouq project where artworks, mainly photography and other types of artefacts, reflect the surrounding environment and nature.
Makouk concluded that St Regis Marsa Arabia is a giant gallery for the most prominent art works by renowned world-class artists like Brian Donnelly, known professionally as Kaws, Manolo Valds, Damien Hirst and Feg Ahmed.