Qatar to celebrate links with China in 2016

 Under the patronage of Chairperson, Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani (below), Qatar Museums (QM) has announced the outline programme for the Qatar China 2016 Year of Culture.

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The Qatar Turkey 2015 Year of Culture, which will draw to a close at the end of the month, celebrated the relations between the State of Qatar and the Republic of Turkey through cultural partnerships between Qatari and Turkish organisations, institutions and individuals. A rich programme explored the contemporary and traditional cultures of both countries, and included exhibitions, festivals, performances, educational programmes and cultural exchanges for all to enjoy.

Next year, as part of the Qatar China 2016 Year of Culture, two major exhibitions will be held in Doha, in addition to a supporting programme of cultural events throughout the year.  What About the Art? Contemporary Art from China”, an exhibition from 15 contemporary Chinese artists curated by internationally acclaimed New York based Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang, will be on view at the QM Gallery Al Riwaq in Spring 2016.

Silks from the Silk Road” will also be on view at the QM Gallery Katara in the Spring. In China, one of the most significant moments of the Year of Culture will centre around the latest edition of the exhibition “Pearls.” Previously exhibited in London and Istanbul, the exhibition will travel to Beijing later in the year.

China's innovative contemporary art scene is certain to provoke debate
China’s innovative contemporary art scene is certain to provoke debate

Dr. Hamad Bin Abdulaziz Al-Kawari, Qatar’s Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage commented: “Culture is one of the most effective tools for bringing people closer together, encouraging dialogue, and deepening understanding between nations. These reasons help explain why Qatar first launched the Year of Culture programme in 2012 with the huge success of Qatar Japan. We’re delighted to launch the fifth Year of Culture with China, a country with which we enjoy an excellent relationship. Both Qatar and China have strong cultural identities and we are each proud of our history, heritage and traditions. Building on our shared values and outlook will help to build even closer cooperation and partnership between us in ways that extend beyond culture. Previous Years of Culture have set a strong benchmark for success, and we look forward to celebrating our growing relationship through widespread participation and engagement in both our countries in the coming year.”

 The exhibition “What About the Art? Contemporary Art from China” will be the major highlight presented in the context of the Qatar China 2016 Year of Culture. After his solo exhibition held at Mathaf in 2011, artist Cai Guo-Qiang returns to Qatar, this time as a curator, to present an exhibition featuring 15 contemporary Chinese artists and collectives working in a variety of media. Artworks exemplifying each and every artist’s unique artistic language and methodology will be displayed in individual galleries, a curatorial approach further highlighting the distinctive creative pursuit of each individual participant.

The work of Chinese photographer Shi-Xiaofan
The work of Chinese photographer Shi-Xiaofan

Critical reception of contemporary Chinese art has largely been grounded in narratives of Chinese history and culture, focusing on the art market and the artworks’ sociopolitical context. In response to this phenomenon, Cai Guo-Qiang has decided to display a selection of artworks being created by Chinese artists today.

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Li Chen, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the State of Qatar, observed:“China Qatar 2016 Year of Culture is a grand celebration of culture and arts, reflecting the close relationship and spirit of collaboration between our countries, as envisioned by our leaders. Our relationship with Qatar is of huge significance to us and we are proud to be hosting the 2016 Year of Culture.”

 The bilateral years of culture were started under the guidance of Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani in 2012. Designed to take Qatar to the world and bring the world to Qatar, the programme is a landmark initiative developed to deepen understanding between nations and their people through mutual exchanges of arts, culture, heritage and sport. Since it began, the Qatar Year of Culture programme has included Qatar Japan 2012, Qatar UK 2013, Qatar Brazil 2014, Qatar Turkey 2015 and now Qatar China 2016. Many events have attracted significant engagement from the public, with 28,000 people attending the Brazil Festival in Doha in 2014, and 40,000 the Turkey Festival in Doha in 2015.

As part of the Qatar China 2016 Year of Culture, a range of activities and events have also been planned for all to enjoy in both countries, including a Chinese Movie Week and an open-air Chinese Festival featuring music, performance, crafts and food from different regions of China. A programme of other events will be announced throughout the year.

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