Museum of Islamic Art

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Islamic art museum to open on Nov 22

THE Museum of Islamic Art (MIA), one of the most prestigious cultural projects of Qatar, will officially open its doors for visitors on November 22, it was announced yesterday.
According to an official spokesman, the opening ceremony will be held under the patronage of HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and in the presence of distinguished political and academic guests from around the world.
Speaking to mediapersons, the acting CEO of Qatar Museums Authority (QMA), Abdulla al-Najjar, said the museum would be a world-class place of learning and a platform for international dialogue.
“The Museum of Islamic Art is a pioneer project, highlighting the cultural vision of the state of Qatar, both in the region and across the world,” he said.
“Under the guidance of the chairperson of QMA’s board of trustees HE Sheikha Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, the project is expected to transform Qatar into the global capital of culture.”
According to him, there will be a “soft opening” on March 22, but the ensuing activities will be limited to ensure that staff capacities are guaranteed in handling the state-of-the-art facilities and staff orientations.
The museum, which stands as an architectural masterpiece on a 35,500sqm man-made island on the Corniche was designed by popular Chinese-American architect I M Pei.
Besides the in-house exhibits, the museum features exhibition galleries, a 200-seat auditorium, a five-star restaurant, prayer halls, gift shops, bookshops, a world-class conservation laboratory and a library.
Al-Najjar said that during the opening week, the museum will host several conferences where distinguished international speakers will participate.
The topics of the conferences will be Architecture: Between Tradition and Modernity and Beyond Boundaries: Islamic Art Across Cultures.
Speaking about the museum’s collection, al-Najjar said they represent the full scope of Islamic art.
“The collection comprises thousands of pieces such as manuscripts, ceramics, metal, glass, ivory, textiles, wood and precious stones,” he said.
“Collected from the three continents of Africa, Asia and Europe, the museums’ artworks date from the 7th- 19th centuries and they represent the diversity found in Islamic art, which are of unparalleled quality,” he said.
“The vision and mission of MIA is to offer a full-scale educational programme. Children and adults alike will have the opportunity to learn hands-on through cultural exchanges, workshops, seminars and other activities.”
He stated that the museum will play host to a number of exhibitions, where visitors will journey through time and across cultures and regions, based on the themes of historical periods and dynasty groups selected by the designer of the galleries, Jean-Michel Willmotte.
“We consider the exhibitions very important because they will help facilitate the development of a strong network and partnership with many international museums as the foundation for other extensive programmes,” he explained. “The exhibitions will also bring into the country many masterpieces.”
The exhibitions, which are planned over a five-year period would feature international museums such as the Louvre Museum of France, British Museum, Museum of Islamic Arts, Egypt, Metropolitan Museum New York, Royal Collection of Morocco and Cartier Collection, France.