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Posted On: 10 August 2009 12:42 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:09 pm

Souq Waqif Art Centre becomes cultural hot spot

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The Souq Waqif Art Centre has become a hub of cultural activity and is set to raise its profile further. Though only two years old, the centre has successfully built up a comfortable base of regular art-loving visitors, contributing to a cosy cultural atmosphere. Now firmly established, the Waqif Art Centre has had very positive responses, creating a niche for itself within the community. “Our main focus when we opened the centre was to bring out a place for local and regional artists,” said Maya Saikali, the centre’s Art Director, highlighting its success, “We can now boast up to 3,000 visitors during peak months, including tourists and Qatar residents.” Saikali also emphasised the importance of such an active centre, catering to a rounded range of artistic tastes, and including a range of shops and the introduction last summer of the Art School. Although tourists have been frequent visitors, where they can view some of the permanent exhibitions of local artists, there are also many more temporary exhibitions catering to the local community who can come to see regional talent in what has always been part of Qatari tradition and culture. The exhibits have been joined by various shops selling unique jewellery, books and handicrafts, as well as the setting up of a recent art school. “In Doha, there were previously few cultural activities, commonly temporary, but the Waqif Arts Centre has changed people’s perceptions of art,” said Saikali, adding, “We can now boast a large collection of art lovers, although we have yet to reach our final target.” The centre hopes to add live music events to draw a young audience, and there will also be joint-exhibitions with embassies in Qatar. Later this year there will be a joint exhibition with the Brazilian embassy of Arab-origin artists based in South. “This bridge that we’re trying to create is to explore the regional and universal language that art is,” noted Saikali, “This will help the different communities in Doha discover the Art Centre, which will raise our profile further.” Future activities include the live performances and music, with a continuation of events such as the popular Pecha Kucha.