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Posted On: 15 December 2014 03:39 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:14 pm

Mal Lawal returns to Qatar with the biggest showcase of private collections and cultural artefacts in the region

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Under the patronage of HisHighness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar, HisHighness SheikhHamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Father Emir today officially launched the second Mal Lawal – biannual organized by Qatar Museums.

Mal Lawal is the only event of its kind in the region. A unique showcase of private collections, it blends heritage and culture and celebrates historically and socially significant objects and antiques. The initiative is made possible under the guidance and leadership of HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al Thani, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of Qatar Museums.

Following the enormous success of the first event held in September 2012, the much-anticipated biennale has grown in size and scale. It will now occupy more than 8,000 sq. meters at the Doha Exhibition Centre between 16th December 2014 and 28th February 2015.

Displays of 4,000 traditional artefacts gathered by more than 110 Qatari private collectors and 42 from the wider GCC region will connect visitors to the country’s cultural heritage and history. Carefully organised into nine categories, Mal Lawal – “from the old Days” in Qatari dialect – features manuscripts, weapons, Islamic collections, old maps, ethnographic/heritage items, antiquities, jewellery, clothing & accessories and many other rare items from Qatar and the rest of the GCC.

This year, a number of new elements have been introduced to the programme to make this unforgettable event even bigger and more extraordinary. Four Majilis settings will give visitors an intimate glimpse into the heart of a traditional Qatari home. Specially created live video links will deliver a virtual experience of eight “home museums” and their private collections of unparalleled quality. More than 100 “oral histories” captured in mini-films will document and celebrate the memories and observations of venerable Qatari elders.

The biennial design has also been conceived to be as family friendly as possible with a food court and series of cafes serving traditional Qatari dishes, and a specially created children’s area with a movable cinema installation. Inspired by the traditional streets, villages and avenues of old Qatar, or ”Al Fergan”, the walls of the exhibition are shaped as arcs extending in some cases to 40m to accommodate the many thousands of pieces.

HE Sheikh Hassan bin Mohammed bin Ali Al Thani, the Deputy Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the QM said:

“We’re delighted to present the second edition of Mal Lawal this year, which launches in conjunction with Qatar National Day celebrations and highlights Qatar’s unique heritage. By raising awareness of such objects’ importance and instilling a love of preserving their historical, social and cultural worth, Mal Lawal perfectly encapsulates Qatar Museum’s strategy of focusing on art, creativity and heritage to honour the traditions of the past whilst embracing the future.

“We are delighted with the level of interest that the exhibition achieved this year, particularly with the participation of collectors from the GCC, who have contributed enormously to this wonderful collection. I invite everyone to see the exhibition and enjoy the legacy of our past.”

Following the success of the original Mal Lawal in 2012, Qatar Museums was inundated with entries from collectors across the local community and the GCC to exhibit pieces in this year’s collection. To exhibit as many entries as possible and provide visitors with the best overview of the rich culture and heritage that the region offers, the organising committee has moved the biennial to the Doha Exhibition Centre and a space spanning 8,000 sq meters.

Nasser Al Hammadi, Mal Lawal biennial Chairman and Curator, said: “Mal Lawal demonstrates how valuable participating in exhibitions and the wide range of events available to local communities can be in teaching us about our culture and heritage. Our hope is that this exhibition strengthens a spirit of national participation.

“We have organised the second edition of Mal Lawal in a way that caters to the whole family. It is the ideal initiative to promote a passion for collecting antiques and artefacts, particularly for the next generation. We hope it will ignite renewed interest in linking the riches of our past with a fast-evolving present, as well as paving the way to our future.”

Mr. Stephen Kelly, President and General Manager of Oxy Qatar, main sponsor of Mal Lawal biennial said: “Oxy Qatar is again honored to support the second edition of Mal Lawal, allowing us to witness and support the preservation of Qatar’s national heritage, values and identity. The uniqueness of the artefacts displayed at the Mal Lawal exhibition allow for the public, whether resident or local, to learn about Qatar and the region’s traditions by taking them on a journey through time and history. Oxy Qatar applauds Qatar Museums for its vision in embarking on this remarkable endeavor to promote and present Qatari cultural life through exhibitions of historical significance. We hope the unique sense of engagement and community that Mal Lawal creates will further enhance public awareness and appreciation of local art and cultural heritage, particularly among the younger generation in Qatar.”