Season preview: Qatar-UK 2013 returns

Damien Hirst and the BBC Symphony Orchestra as part of cultural exchange Discuss this article

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The Year of Culture is back in full swing just as the galleries and museums prepare for their busy winter schedules. Expect paintings, opera, pop art and much more from Doha's arts scene in these coming months.

Qatar-UK 2013
As many of you know by now, the Year of Culture is a celebration of cultural and artistic partnerships between Qatar and the United Kingdom.

We’ve seen major art exhibitions here in Katara such as Encounter: The Royal Academy in the Middle East or the Arts and Disability Festival last March. There have been royal and mayoral visits from Prince Charles and Boris Johnson, and a performance by renowned street performers in Stomp – to name a few.

Over in England, there has been Qatari artistic influence in London’s Bird’s Eye View Festival for Arab filmmakers, as well as Qatar-UK musical celebrations in London and Edinburgh, with premieres by up-and-coming film composer Wael Binali.

But that was just the beginning. After a short hiatus through the summer, Qatar-UK 2013 is back with a vengeance and loads more events in the country to enjoy.

Like what?
Old Doha Prize

The British Council and Qatar Museums Authority have been scouting out applications from architects to get involved with this prize. It’s a competition that will bring British and Qatari architects together for a one-week design residency in Doha from November 17-24. You can still apply online until September 15 at

Northern Legacy
Bolton photographer Harold Crompton Robinson will be exhibiting a range of his black and white works of Northern England from the 1950s and 60s at Katara Cultural Village from the 12th of this month until October 19. Harold has passed away since but his works remain as relevant today as ever.

BBC Symphony Orchestra Concert
We’ve seen plenty of Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra concerts but now it’s turn for the Brits to perform works by three of England’s finest composers – Ralph Vaughan Williams, Edward Elgar and Benjamin Britten (whose 100th birthday would fall this year) – at the Katara Opera house from the 30th of this month until October 1. See the page opposite for more from the orchestra’s general manager Paul Hughes.

Hajj – The Journey Through Art
This one is based on the original exhibition – Hajj: the journey to the heart of Islam – that was at the British Museum in London last year. It will celebrate this holy pilgrimage with many of the items on display coming from the Museum of Islamic Art collections, some of which have never been seen in public before. It’ll be held at the museum from October 9, 2013 – January 5, 2014.

Relics: Damien Hirst Exhibition
Damien Hirst is arguably the most prominent British artist of his generation. He is most well known for a series of artworks where he preserved dead animals in formaldehyde, challenging peoples’ notions of what art is. However, he’s been active since 1988, when he conceived and curated his very first exhibition, and has since produced many great artworks, paintings and other major installations. This will be his first solo exhibition in the Middle East and will be held at Al Riwaq from October 10, 2013 – January 22, 2014.

Ben Barbour exhibition
Ben Barbour, who is the curator of Msheireb Art Centre, went on a journey in July and August from Qatar to the UK aboard one of Nakilat’s Q-Flex Liquid Natural Gas tankers that is managed by Shell International Shipping and Trading Ltd, stopping in South Hook, Wales, which is Europe’s largest re-gasification terminal. It follows the historic pearl trade routes and so Ben had the chance to capture observations and objects through his drawings on the three-week journey. What resulted will be shown in an exhibition at Katara Cultural Village from October 23 – November 15.

Doha Film Institute UK cinema showcase
Every month DFI hosts a number of film screenings that celebrate the power of classic and contemporary British film at the Museum of Islamic Art Auditorium. We’ve already seen movies such as drama Kes and heart-warming comedy The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. You can check the schedule and buy tickets at

View BBC Symphony Orchestra in Doha
View Five top Doha art exhibitions this winter
View How to start an art collection in Qatar

By Time Out Doha staff
Time Out Doha,

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