Qatar Museums’ spring line-up brings your dose of culture

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From MIA to Mathaf, to its Fire Station and Katara galleries, Qatar Museums is welcoming 2017 with an artful start as it announces half a dozen new exhibitions and events set to make their Doha début between now and June. Here’s what art-lovers can look forward to:

Picasso-Giacometti Exhibition

February 22, 2017-March 21, 2017

Fire Station, Garage Gallery

This exhibition will be the first to showcase the works of Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) and Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966) in the Middle East, bringing together 120 pieces from each of the two artists, drawn from the collections of the Musée national Picasso and the Fondation Giacometti in Paris. Curated by Catherine Grenier, the exhibition will also feature works from each artist on loan from French and other international collections ranging from sculptures, sketches, paintings, photographs and interviews with the artists. Reflecting two years of research by both the Fondation Giacometti and the Musée national Picasso, the exhibit explores previously unknown personal and professional aspects of their artistic relationship.

JR – Retrospective

March 9, 2017-May 31, 2017

QM Gallery, Building 10, Katara

Acclaimed French artist JR will be the subject of a major retrospective show hosted in Qatar. Combining art with engaged actions through large-scale outdoor installations, photographs, videos, and films, using the streetscape as his inspiration and ever-evolving canvas – which he claims as the largest gallery in the world.

Creating ‘Pervasive Art’ that spreads uninvited on the buildings and slums of Paris, on the walls of the Middle East, on the broken bridges in Africa, or the favelas of Brazil, JR remains anonymous. He doesn’t explain his work, allowing its subjects, bystanders and passersby to formulate their own questions. This exhibition at Katara’s QM Gallery will highlight some of the key series that have made JR famous and will include a video lounge where selected works will be screened.

Imperial Threads: Motifs and Artisans from Turkey, Iran and India

March 15, 2017-November 4, 2017

Museum of Islamic Art (MIA)

Showcasing the connection between three major dynasties who marked the start of the early modern period in Islamic art, this exhibition aims to bring a new perspective to MIA’s collection, featuring pieces from the Ottoman, Safayid, and Mughal empires. Exploring the artistic influence, cultural interactions, and materials exchanged between empires between the 16th and 18th centuries, the display will include metalwork, manuscripts, ceramics and carpets along with other objects of daily life that illustrate the artistic and historical background of the period.

Skate Girls of Kabul

June 15, 2017-September 16, 2017

QM Gallery, Building 10, Katara

The iconic ‘Skate Girls of Kabul’ tells the extraordinary story of Afghan girls who entered the world of skateboarding thanks to Skateistan, an Afghan charity that provides skate parks as a means to bring children from disadvantaged families back into the educational system. Shot by award-winning photographer Jessica Fulford-Dobson, the series of striking portraits have been viewed by more than 74,000 visitors during its two-week run at London’s Saatchi Gallery, bringing to life the colourful, free-flowing and full of life spirit of these young girls, while offering up a new perspective on skateboarding culture.

 Mathaf Permanent Collection


Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art

Consisting of more than 9,000 pieces and continuing to grow with new acquisitions and commissions, Mathaf’s permanent collection offers a rotating display of compelling art. Located in the museum’s first-floor galleries the collection includes works from Qatar and the Arab world, Iran, Turkey, and other regions historically connected to the Arab Peninsula, and represent major artistic practices and innovations in modern and contemporary Arab art dating back to the 1840s.

 Mathaf is also working towards producing an online database of research on Arab artists and artworks through the Mathaf Encyclopedia of Modern Art and the Arab World. This first of its kind in the region and in the world, the encyclopedia is a free bilingual resource for facts on Arab artists.

 Art for Tomorrow Conference

March 10-13, 2017

W Doha Hotel & Residences

Held in Doha again for the third time, the New York Times ‘Art for Tomorrow’ conference is returning to the W Doha this March with a new theme of ‘Boundaries, Identity, and the Public Realm’. Discussions will be led by award-winning New York Times journalists, as they explore and investigate issues that bridge the territory between art and public life. The four-day conference will examine the role of art as a catalyst for economic growth and development, and as a mechanism for city or corporate branding.

 Bringing together more than 200 world-renowned art and cultural influencers from over 20 countries, ‘Art for Tomorrow’ will host gallerists, curators, museum directors, auction houses, collectors, entrepreneurs, architects, urban planners, government officials and more. Registration to take part in this year’s event can be done online at

Are you an art lover? If so, tell us which exhibitions catch your eye in the comments section below – and don’t forget to give us a like and a share!