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10 August 2018 06:48 am

Mathaf to showcase defining moments in region's art history

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Revolution Generations,  a ground-breaking exhibition curated by Abdellah Karroum, Director of Mathaf, will present artists from the Arab World, Turkey, Iran and diaspora, looking at important moments of change in the history of modern and contemporary art; specifically the 1950s - 1960s Post-Independence(s) era; a period between 1970s - 1990s,  and  the 2000s Pre-revolutions decades, when underground artistic movements developed in the region in response to the absence of freedom of expression.  

Offering a historical narrative, Revolution Generations introduces artists as vital actors of social and cultural change in each of these periods of modern and contemporary history.  

The exhibition is staged in three parts. Chapter one looks at the fight for independence in North Africa, the Middle East countries and beyond in the 1950s, the beginning of new languages in art and literature. Chapter two presents works by artists who are part of the Pan-Arab cultural movement in the 1970s. Chapter three looks at the generation of artists who prefigured the Arab Spring in the 2000s inventing new vocabularies that look at societies undergoing change.  

Our Epic Tale, 1973 Oil on panel, 30 x 90 cm Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha


Artists featured in the exhibition include: Fahrelnissa Zeid (1901-1991), Turkey ; Hussein Bicar  (1913-2002), Egypt ; Hatem El Mekki (1918-2003), Tunisia ; Inji Efflatoun (1924 -1989), Egypt ; Shakir Hassan Al Said (1925-2004), Iraq ; Jilali Gharbaoui (1930-1971), Morocco ; Baya (1931-1998), Algeria ; Burhan Karkoutly (1932-2003), Syria ; Ahmed Cherkaoui (1934-1967), Morocco ; Farid Belkahia (1934-2014), Morocco ; Louay Kayali (1934-1978), Syria ; Ismail Fattah (1934 -2004), Iraq ; Mohamed Chebaa (b 1935), Morocco ; Abdullah Al Muharraqi (b. 1939), Bahrain ; Dia Azzawi (b. 1939), Iraq ; Simone Fattal (b. 1942) Syria ; Kamal Boullata (b. 1942) Palestine ; Jassim Zaini (1943-2012) Qatar ; Shirin Neshat (b. 1957), Iran ; Nazar Yahya (b. 1963), Iraq ; Marwan Rechmaoui (b. 1964), Lebanon ; Walid Raad (b.1967), Lebanon ; Hicham Benohoud (b.1968), Morocco ; Mounir Fatmi (b. 1970), Morocco ; Marwan Sahmarani (b.1970), Lebanon ; Sabhan Adam (b. 1973), Syria ; Amal Kenawy (1974-2012), Egypt ; Hassan Khan (b.1975), UK ; Shiva Ahmadi (b. 1975), Iran.  

Works on show are drawn from the extensive collection of Mathaf, alongside loans from international public and private collections, and from artists and galleries.  

In parallel, Mathaf will present the exhibition Mounira Al SolhI strongly believe in our right to be frivolous, curated by Hendrik Folkerts (Dittmer Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, the Art Institute of Chicago) and Laura Barlow (Curator, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha). In the series of drawings, ‘I strongly believe in our right to be frivolous’ (2012-ongoing), Mounira Al Solh (born 1978, Beirut, Lebanon) collects personal histories and experiences that emerge from the humanitarian and political crises in Syria and the Middle East. The more than 150 drawings and embroideries presented at Mathaf document deeply personal encounters and conversations between Al Solh and Syrian refugees as well as other people from the Middle East who were forcibly displaced to Lebanon, Europe, and the United States, chronicling individual accounts of departure, arrival, and grave uncertainty. Just as these works emerge from spaces of conversation and exile around the world, this exhibition, now presented in Doha, becomes a stage for conversation—inspiring us to reflect on and discuss how migration and displacement, conflict and resistance, continue to shape our world today.  

Two FOCUS exhibitions will also be on view, continuing the in depth display series dedicated to historical artists from the Museum’s Collection:  

Fateh al-Moudarres (Syria, 1922-1999), Title Unknown, 1967, acrylic on paper, 37 x 45.5 cm. Collection Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha.  MAT.2007.1.967


Fateh al-Moudarres: Colour, Extensity and Sense, guest curated by Sara Raza (Independent Curator), presents a posthumous view into the oeuvre of this modernist artist’s studio practice.  Deliberately organized as a thematic slice, as opposed to a retrospective, this exhibition provides a revisionist lens, which examines al-Moudaress’s works within the context of his engagements with Surrealism and Sufism.    

Features of Qatar,1973 Oil on cardboard, 48.5 x 78cm Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha


Jassim Zaini: Representation and Abstraction, curated by Fatma Mostafawi (Curator, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha), will present a focused view of the works of a pioneering Qatari modernist. The exhibition explores Zaini’s artistic vision and examines two formal artistic directions adopted by the artist during different and overlapping periods of his artistic career. The works on show are important reflections of a fundamental era in the history of Qatar as they capture the social, cultural and economic transformations brought about by the exploitation of oil and the formation of nation state. 

Concurrently, The Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, marking its 10th anniversary, will present Syria Matters, a major exhibition documenting the extraordinary cultural heritage of Syria, illuminating Syria’s key role in the artistic and intellectual history of the world.

All images courtesy of  MATHAF