A month of culture

Wander through mesmerising artworks from Arab artists


After a long summer, the art world is ramping back up. There are a flood of new exhibitions in town and art aficionados have a packed month ahead. So, let us guide you to the must-see exhibits at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha this month.

Colour, Extensity and Sense
Created by Fateh Al-Moudarres and curated by Sara Raza, an independent curator, this exhibit presents a posthumous view into the works of the artist’s studio practice. The depiction is not retrospective for a change, so you’ll have the chance to admire something that’s different yet very in sync with the happenings in the region.

I strongly believe in our right to be frivolous
The artist, Mounira Al Solh, from Lebanon, collects personal histories and experiences that emerge from the humanitarian and political crises in Syria and the Middle East. She has more than 150 drawings and embroideries presented at Mathaf, which document her deeply personal encounters and conversations with Syrian refugees, as well as other people from the Middle East who were forcibly displaced to Lebanon, Europe and the United States. Her work chronicles individual accounts of departure, arrival and uncertainty – of which all of these are very common in the lives of victims. The grave reality of migration and conflict is disturbing and reflective, too.

Representation and Abstraction
This exhibit presents a focused view of the works of a pioneering Qatari modernist. The exhibition explores Jassim Zaini’s artistic vision and examines two artistic directions that he has adopted during different periods of his career. His art reflects a fundamental era in Qatar and captures the social, cultural and economic transformation brought about by the exploitation of oil and the formation of a nation state.

Revolution Generations
Abdellah Karroum, director of Mathaf, has curated this incredible exhibition which displays works from artists hailing from Turkey, Iran and the Arab world. The exhibit takes you through moments of change in the history of modern art in different eras (from the 1950s-1960s up to the 2000s) when underground artistic movements developed in the region in response to the lack of freedom of expression.

The exhibit is staged in three parts – chapter one looks at the fight for independence in North Africa, the Middle East countries and beyond in the 1950s, the beginning of new languages in art and literature. Chapter two presents works by artists who are part of the Pan-Arab cultural movement in the 1970s. Chapter three looks at the generation of artists who prefigured the Arab Spring. It’s undoubtedly heavy stuff, but the unique insight into these eras is very interesting and a true highlight of a top month for art.
Free. Open to the public. Oct 17 onwards. Open daily 9am-7pm. Education City, Qatar Foundation, Al Luqta (4402 8855).

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