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The Arabic Museum of Modern Art

The Arabic Museum of Modern Art or Mathaf as it is popularly known is the first institution in Qatar to offer modern and contemporary art from an Arab perspective. The exhibits are intended to inspire creativity and bring forth new ideas.

Housed temporarily in 5,500 sq meters of a converted school building in Doha’s Education City complex it holds a collection of more than 6000 paintings, sculptures and mixed media work from every Arab country. The works are displayed in twelve galleries and in the grounds of the museum. The collection offers an overview of modern art in the Middle East from the mid 19th century to the present. It was donated by the artist and collector Sheik Hassan bin Mohamed bin Ali al Thani to the Qatar Foundation and was acquired by the Qatar Museum Authority. Mathaf was opened to the public in 2010.

Visitors are introduced to the art works straight away with many large sculptures being displayed in the museum’s forecourt. A granite sculpture entitled Guardian of the Fertile Crescent, featuring two seated figures is the most imposing piece of work in the museum forecourt. The Ship, a sculpture in pink and black granite adorned with bronze animal, bird, plant and human sculptures is another impressive work displayed in the forecourt.

Inside is a soaring well lit lobby that leads to a succession of galleries. In addition to the 6000 works in the permanent collection are paintings, sculpture, photographs, video, multimedia installations and interactive digital art commissioned by Mathaf from 23 artists with connections to the Arab world. The themes addressed in the multitude of works range from family, politics and society to 20th century civic struggles in the Arab World. Cityscapes, portraits and text based art also features prominently. Artists from around the Arab World are represented here and the eclectic collection has something that appeals to everyone.

Works displayed according to themes include Doha featuring paintings by artists who have stayed in the city, Individualism showcases self portraits and portraits of influential Arab personalities, Horoufiyah portrays works using Arabic letters as abstract forms, City, features streetscapes of the region, Struggle, features upheavals and protests in modern Arab history.

The museum holds exhibitions throughout the year to showcase the work of new and well known Qatari and regional artists.

The museum premises have a book and souvenir shop, an outdoor cafe, a library, an artist’s workshop and research facilities.

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