Art lovers in for a treat as museums prepare to reopen
June 26 2020 11:28 PM
Preparations underway for MIA's exhibition ‘A Falcon’s Eye, Tribute to Sheikh Saoud Al Thani’
Preparations underway for MIA's exhibition ‘A Falcon’s Eye, Tribute to Sheikh Saoud Al Thani’

Qatar residents will again have the opportunity to explore the permanent collections at the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) and Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art from July 1 as a number of museums prepare to reopen. Qatar Museums (QM) is also scheduled to unveil a special exhibition ‘Picasso’s Studios’ at the Doha Fire Station on the same date – the start of the second phase of the general resumption of public activity in the country.

The upcoming MIA exhibition marks the outstanding accomplishments of one of Qatar’ greatest collectors

A featured object (Qajar Iran, circa 1820) in MIA’s permanent collection

MIA’s collections, which can also be accessed digitally via Google Street View, include ceramics, glass, manuscripts, jewellery, wood work, textiles, and metalwork obtained from three continents, which date back from 7th to the 19th century, according to QM.
Meanwhile, Mathaf collection – dubbed as the largest of Arab modern and contemporary art in the region – “represents major trends and sites of production through paintings, sculptures, works on paper, installation and video works, produced since the mid-19th century until the present day.”
Key artworks by pioneer Arab artists such as Jewad Selim’s Baghdadiat, and Mahmoud Moukhtar’s The Nile are part of this vast collection. MIA will also open some of its exhibitions soon such as ‘A Falcon’s Eye: Tribute to Sheikh Saoud Al Thani’. It was originally scheduled to open to the public on March 25 and will run until January 2, 2021 but was postponed along with other major events in Qatar and around the world due to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.
MIA tweeted recently a number of pictures about the ongoing preparations for this show as it urged visitors to “follow the preventive measures to move forward the quarantine stages and enable us to see you soon.”
‘A Falcon’s Eye: Tribute to Sheikh Saoud Al Thani’ marks the outstanding accomplishments of one of Qatar’ greatest collectors who was largely responsible for laying the foundation for QM’s world-class collections. According to QM, this exhibition features “more than 300 works from prehistoric fossils and Egyptian antiquities to Orientalist paintings and masterpieces of the history of photography in a spectacular display following the concept of ancient (Renaissance) ‘cabinet of curiosities’ reflecting Sheikh Saoud’s fascination with both natural history and the art world.”
Other postponed exhibitions include ‘Splendours of the Ancient East: Antiquities’ from the al-Sabah Collection at National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ), featuring around 170 priceless objects in gold, silver, glass, and precious stones collected by Sheikh Nasser Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah and Sheikha Hussa al-Salem al-Sabah of Kuwait; ‘Yto Barrada: My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nougat’ at Mathaf, the first solo exhibition in the Gulf region of the remarkably varied and conceptually challenging work of Barrada (b. 1971) in photography, video, sculpture, and installation made between 2009 and 2019; ‘Huguette Caland: Faces and Places' at Mathaf, an overview of four decades of the joyously sensuous paintings, drawings, sculptures, and clothing designs of Caland (1931-2019); and ‘Lived Forward: Art and Culture in Doha from 1960-2020’, which looks at reference points of generations of artists, intellectuals and cultural activists who played a major role in activating the cultural scene in Doha for more than half a century.
These exhibitions offer residents and visitors globally “exceptional opportunities to enjoy artworks and artifacts that span centuries and the globe.” Apart from MIA and Mathaf, Al Zubarah, Al Jassasiya and Barzan Towers are among the institutions and heritage sites in Qatar that will reopen on July 1, in accordance with recommendations from the Health Protection and Communicable Disease Control office of the Ministry of Public Health to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

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