The much awaited Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) opening ceremony will be a simple, yet unique event according to officials of Qatar Museum Authority. The Emir H H Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani will inaugurate the museum on Saturday, November 22.
The whole world has been eagerly looking towards the opening of the five-storey masterpiece designed by Ieoh Ming Pei, which he had described as “the most difficult jobs I ever undertook.” At 382,000-square feet, it is the largest museum solely dedicated to Islamic art in the world, a magnificent monument in which to showcase a rich collection of more than 800 priceless artefacts from Europe, Asia and the Middle East, many on public display for the first time.
“We will have a simple and unique opening event in the midst of renowned celebrities,” said Abdulla Al Najjar, CEO, MIA. “During the next few days, the people of Qatar and our honoured guests from around the world will witness the cultural diversity of the Museum of Islamic Art. Above all, the museum will be a place of discovery and experience – where people of all nations will meet, debate and improve cultural understanding through the arts.”
The event will be attended by scores of invited guests and this elite list includes local and international media correspondents. Though the inauguration will be simple one, the spectacular celebrations will be spread over a week starting from this Friday.
The celebrations will begin with an exhibition ‘Museum of Islamic Art through Qatari Eyes’, tomorrow. The free outdoor exhibition to be opened by H E Sheikha Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Chairperson, QMA Board of Trustees, near Sheraton Park on the Doha Corniche. The exhibition is open to public visitors from November 22 until December 20, and features 120 photographs taken during the museum’s construction by nine Qatari photographers.
The following day, November 22 will be the most spectacular and culturally significant occasion in the history of Qatar. The opening ceremony will reveal the breathtaking architecture and priceless collection of MIA as it is officially unveiled to the world for the first time. The opening will be followed by a concert by world renowned cellist Yo Yo Ma.
“The museum will open a spectacular world of Islamic art for the world. Each and every article of the collection is unique in itself. To single out the masterpieces from among them will be very difficult. The collections are of extremely high quality and peerless,” Al Najjar said.
Completing a thrilling first two days for the new landmark symbol of Qatari culture, world premier of Layla and Majnum, a show written for the MIA inauguration by the Silk Road Project will be held. The classic Arabic love story known and beloved throughout Central Asia will be performed by a collection of internationally renowned musicians, composers, arrangers, visual artists and storytellers from more than 20 countries.
The Silk Road Project is a non-profit artistic, cultural and educational organisation founded in 1998 with a vision of connecting the world’s neighbourhoods by bringing together artists and audiences around the globe. The group takes inspiration from the historical Silk Road trading route as a modern metaphor for multicultural and interdisciplinary exchange.
A discussion on Islamic Architecture: From Tradition to Modernity will be held on November 23 with Pei is guest of honor. The same afternoon, the Qatar Museums Authority will announce a very special partnership.This will be followed by a conference, ‘Beyond Boundaries – Islamic Art Across Cultures’ on November 24. The two-day event will feature leading Islamic art scholars from three continents, and followed by the opening of the inaugural temporary exhibition Beyond Boundaries – Islamic Art Across Cultures.
The museum will close for a short break from November 25 and reopen to receive the public on December 1.the peninsula