QATAR: highlights work from the Mathaf collection


The Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha is dedicating the ground floor of the museum to a new display of solo exhibitions featuring pioneering artists from the Museum’s Permanent Collection.

Mathaf Collection exhibition view

Until 14th February 2016, the exhibition, entitled Focus: Works from the Mathaf Collection, offers a glimpse into some of the museum’s most iconic works by combining a series of solo shows that highlight key artists in the collection.

Presented by Qatar Museums under the leadership of its Chairperson, HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the exhibition will feature the work of five of the Arab world’s most ground-breaking and influential modern and contemporary artists: Faraj Daham (Qatar); Saloua Raouda Choucair (Lebanon); Inji Efflatoun (Egypt); Farid Belkahia (Morocco); and Abdulhalim Al-Radwi (Saudi Arabia).

Each gallery in the museum’s ground floor exhibition space is dedicated to one artist and touches upon specific themes in their practice, allowing visitors to experience their productions through the lens of curatorial interpretations of historical contexts, materials and aesthetics, while interrogating the museum’s role by building academic and curatorial research on Mathaf’s permanent collection.


The exhibition offers diverse curatorial interpretations, with one of five curators assigned to each solo show. These are Mathaf Director Abdellah Karroum, Mathaf curators Laura Barlow, Fatma Mostafawi and Leonore-Namkha Beschi, and independent curator Mayssa Fattouh.

Abdellah Karroum, Director of Mathaf, commented: “We are delighted to be presenting this ongoing series of solo exhibitions at Mathaf, which give visitors a more in-depth glimpse into the work of some of the Arab world’s most significant artists featured in our Permanent Collection, reflecting a multitude of artistic directions and contexts.

“The role of this exhibition series is not only to conserve art over time, but to suggest paths for revisiting, re-experiencing, and seeing the selected artworks in light of current events and curatorial readings.”

Each of the five exhibitions on show at Mathaf explores multiple artistic approaches towards major topics of modernity including identity, invention and experimentation in art. Daham, Efflatoun, Choucair, Radwi and Belkahia believed they had a responsibility as intellectuals to embrace historical traditions and social progress. Their diverse backgrounds, education, and interests, as well as their dedication to social reform allowed for original yet universal creations of art. In different ways and with different forms, these five artists have played a major part in generating ideas and inventing techniques as they, in conversation with international art movements and other geographies, make sense of their artistic, social, and political worlds.

Mathaf houses the largest and most extensive permanent collection of modern and contemporary Arab art in the world with more than 9,000 works in it is care, dating from the 19th century to present day. The collection reflects a number of important defining moments in Arab history and artistic innovations in the region.


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