Qatar is the world’s newest hub of art and culture! It's involvement in promoting the arts by providing a platform to local, regional and international artists to showcase their multi-faceted talents has turned the country into a vibrant and pulsating arts community. By staying committed to its cultural traditions and rich heritage, and combining it with the contemporary and the modern, Qatar is prospering in the art world with unique art collections that have taken the local community and the international world by storm.
Creativity is continuously and consistently flourishing in Qatar. The unique and distinct art galleries that are spread all over Doha have been successful in exhibiting art works and art collections by renowned artists from all around the world but does not forget emerging artists who are encouraged to use these platforms to showcase their multi-disciplinary artistic talents and take them to the world. There’s room for everyone in Qatar's art world!
From the Gallery AlRiwaq that has hosted such names as Damien Hirst to the Anima Gallery which is known for its unique exhibitions. From the Katara Art Center that has dedicated thousands of square meters towards art to Art 29 which is the newest gallery to hit the town. Qatar’s galleries are enriching, dynamic and have played a vital role in turning the country into a thriving cultural landscape that nurtures creativity and creates opportunities.
The following art galleries in Qatar have played a significant role in turning Qatar into a 'Capital of Arts and Culture'':
The Gallery AlRiwaq is located in front of the Museum of Islamic Art and was established in 2010. It operates under the patronage of the Chairperson of the Qatar Museums Authority’s Board of Trustees, Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani and continues to flourish with new and exciting exhibitions all the time.
Gallery AlRiwaq is a permanent gallery space for temporary exhibitions and has played a very successful part in ensuring Qatar becomes a hub of art and culture within the region and also internationally. It has already played host to some of the most important and renowned artists from across the globe like Takashi Murakami and Damien Hirst who have exhibited their unique and captivating art works at the AlRiwaq Gallery which have truly mesmerized people of all ages.
The QM Gallery Katara is located in Qatar’s famous Katara Cultural Village and was established in 2010 as a platform for Qatar Museums to exhibit their vision, artworks and collections for the public to see. It also showcases art collections of Qatari artists as well as artists from the international art scene and is instrumental in organizing exhibitions on an international level.
Exhibitions are rotated almost every two months and though the exhibitions may differ in artistic media – sports, photography, architecture, sculpture and art – the theme of the collections mostly revolves around the 'human' which visitors are able to understand and connect with on a more personal level.
The Gallery is popular among the locals and expats of Qatar. It has a casual and friendly atmosphere; it has been designed to evoke contemplation in its visitors who come to the Gallery to marvel at the art that is on offer, the most famous being those that depict female Arab athletes or the pain experienced by female icons.
The Katara Art Center (KAC) is a modern and contemporary art institution and gallery space that is made up over 1,000 square meters and covers different art forms and disciplines where people are exposed to unconventional and contemporary approaches towards art and design.
Nestled within Doha’s famous Katara Cultural Village, the KAC is well-known among art lovers and is an art hub that showcases and encourages emerging artists from the Arab region who exhibit their art works at this gallery.
KAC, where ‘art meets culture’ plays an integral part in the growth and development of the art scene in Qatar by helping emerging artists gain a foothold in the contemporary art world by helping them build a network where they can exchange their ideas, make a connection with the local community in Qatar through their art and show off their talents to the international market as well.
The Center was founded by Tariq Al Jaidah in 2012 and is an independently run platform that is dedicated to contemporary art practices and creative projects in various art disciplines. Its aim is to inspire and engage artists, art lovers and people of all ages and educate them about the importance of art and culture in its many forms through temporary exhibitions, performances, workshops and talks on art.
KAC also plays a significant role as an art incubator that has the ability to strengthen Qatar’s cultural branding by holding art events and exhibitions that have helped to model Qatar as a leading hub of culture, art and design in the international world.
The Souq Waqif Art Center serves as a gallery that houses paintings, sculpture and other mixed-media artistic pursuits that, though contemporary and modern, yet, are still based on Qatari aesthetics, culture and its traditions. The aim of this gallery center is to sustain and maintain the artistic culture and traditions that are an inherent part of Qatar and the Arab region and then showcase them in a contemporary manner that is easy to understand for visitors to the gallery.
The gallery, which is situated in the very center of Souq Waqif, is well-known in the art and cultural world of Doha. It is especially lauded for its support in providing a work space to local and expat artists in Qatar, giving them exposure to showcase their art to art lovers, art collectors and the general public, and connecting them to art lovers so they can share their knowledge on art-related ideas and inspirations. It’s surely a gallery that should not be missed.
A Civil Defence Building constructed in 1982 that housed Qatar’s Fire Brigade till the end of 2012 has, now, become part of the Qatar Museums. The Fire Station was renovated by leading Qatari architect Ibrahim Al Jeidah, who has preserved the originality of the fire station building and kept some of its original features. Today, this building houses an innovative public gallery called the Garage Gallery that showcases exhibitions by local emerging talent so they can grow and develop as creative and professional artists locally as well as internationally. The mesh on the building’s exterior is used to display digital art works, public messages and to project images.
Initially, the project was supported by His Highness the Father Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and now the Emir of Qatar, H.H. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani patronizes it.
There is also an artist residency program that starts in mid-September for nine months. Artists from different disciplines can set up their own studios to complete a project they have chosen using their own techniques. They also get to meet curators and mentors and showcase their finished art projects.
The Fire Station Garage Gallery is one of Doha’s main artists hubs. It is a friendly, colorful and dynamic art showcase for the public who come, not only to enjoy the art exhibitions the gallery has on offer, but also to explore the novelty of a fire station turned art gallery that also houses a restaurant/café and an art supply shop.
Cass Art in the Fire Station hosts one of the UKs leading retailers of art supplies. It has, in stock, a vast range of top-of-the-line art materials. Brands include Daler Rowney, Faber Castell, Winsor and Newton along with Cass Art’s own products.
Café #999 is the Fire Station’s contemporary café that focuses on an international culinary experience and healthy ingredients. It uses local products and has organic and gluten-free items on his menu.
The Café’s food truck ‘Truck #999’ is an innovation in itself. Converted from the second oldest fire truck into a unique food truck adds to the charisma of this concept and the menu on offer has something for everyone.
The Anima Gallery is a contemporary art gallery that focuses on bringing local, regional and foreign artists to the forefront and showcasing their talent in a vast variety of mediums and styles that range from sculptures, original paintings, works on paper and prints that are limited edition.
The Anima Gallery gets its name from Aristotle, the ancient Greek philosopher, who believed art was an extension of a person’s soul and this is the definition of ‘anima’. It is located on The Pearl and its main aim is to encourage artists who showcase their art through exhibitions that are held five times a year for a period of time and are usually complemented with informal lectures and gallery talks for visitors of the gallery as well as art professionals and students. The exhibitions are a means to connect the world of contemporary Arab art with the international world of art.
The Gallery was started in March 2012 and mainly consists of art collections, artist commissions, world class exhibitions and educational resources. It is a must place visit for art lovers who look forward to the exhibitions on offer with more and more people visiting the gallery to enjoy contemporary artworks that are unique and exclusive.
The Anima Lounge is an extension of the Gallery. It is a chic and trendy eating place that serves enjoyable meals (gluten-free options are also on offer) and beverages that you can enjoy while you take in the different art works by different artists that adorn the space while discussing art or going through the art magazines that are in the Lounge.
Restaurant/Cafe (Anima Lounge)
7 days a week: 10 am – 10 pm
Qatar’s East Wing is a gallery that was established in Doha in 2012. It is an ‘international platform for photography’ and showcases the art works of photographers like the renowned Phillip Toledano whose art spreads over different media and varied contexts and the World Press Photo winner Philippe Dudouit whose photography is in a class of its own.
The Gallery’s aim is to support emerging and mid-career local and international artists that specialize in photography, videography and unique publications whose passion reflects in their work and collections. Its main emphasis is on showcasing photography that is socially relevant, evocative, stimulating and thought provoking.
The East Wing does not have a permanent exhibition place in Qatar, but you can visit the website for more information on upcoming exhibitions, projects,where they will be held and their timings.
Depends on exhibition; check website for more info
The Virginia Commonwealth University Qatar (VCU-Q) is the Qatar branch of the VCU of Virginia, USA, and is an established hub of research and education in graphic design, interior design and art history in Qatar. The VCU-Q is located in the heart of Doha’s Education City and has a gallery space on its campus that is well-known in Qatar’s art circle for exhibiting the art works of international artists as well as those of VCU-Q’s students and members of the faculty. When there are exhibitions taking place at the gallery, it is open for the general public.
The Gallery has already showcased art work from renowned artists like Moroccan photographer Hassan Hajjaj whose frames are as visual and expressive as the photographs they hold, Egyptian typographical artist Fathi Hassan who experiments with ancient languages and the Colombian artist Marianna Heilmann whose main focus is on pattern repetitions and microscopic shapes, amongst others.
Saturday to Thursday - 9 am to 5 pm
Art 29 is the newest art gallery to open its doors in the city that’s making a name for itself in the world of art and culture. This gallery is part of the W Doha Hotel & Residences and the first gallery that’s been opened up by a hotel in Qatar. Its aim is to nurture creativity and provoke inspiration by providing established and emerging local, regional and international artists a platform to showcase their talents in the arts.
Art 29 is a dedicated gallery space on the 29th floor of W Hotel and promises to captivate the attention of visitors to the gallery who visit the gallery to encourage these artists and enjoy the various exhibitions on offer.
Depends on exhibition
Depends on exhibition
Cover Image Credit: Qatar Foundation
Do you love art? Could you spend hours in a gallery enjoying the art collections on offer in Qatar? How many of the galleries in this article have you visited? Do let us know what you think in our comments section. Like and share the article - it keeps us going!
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