Mathaf, Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, was established in 2010. Mathaf, in translation from Arabic, means “museum”. The foundation of the museum’s present collection is the collection of modern Arabic art, gathered by Sheikh Hassan bin Mohammed Al Thani; the conditions of conservation were provided by QMA, chaired by Sheikha Al-Mayassa Al Thani. The collection, which consists of 9000 objects, reflects an Arab perspective on modern and contemporary art. Mathaf supports creativity and artists by organising temporary exhibitions, providing educational programs and establishing the art library.
Sheikh Hassan started building his collection in the early 1990s. He wanted to create a museum that could represent and support artists from Arab States over the last 200 years. At the beginning in early 1990th the museum occupied two private villas in Madinat Khalifa in Doha, but in 2010 it moved into the Qatar Foundation’s Education City in Doha, a building transformed by the French architect Jean-François Bodin. At that time Sheikh Hassan and his advisors conceived an idea of what an Arab perspective on modern and contemporary art could be. They intended it to be twenty-first century ‘post-museum’, the term invented by Eilean Hooper-Greenhill. This modern type of a museum by her opinion should be based not only on transmission of knowledge, but on cultural approaches to objects, which supposed to reflect cultural studies, educational theories, feminism and postmodernism and be transparent and interaction-oriented.
Sheikha Al-Mayassa Al Thani, chairwoman of QMA, stated upon the opening of Mathaf that, “[…] we are making Qatar the place to see, explore and discuss the creations of Arab artists of the modern era and of our own time.”
The atrium and five galleries are dedicated to temporary exhibitions, while the permanent collection occupies seven galleries on the upper floor.
At the moment there are four temporary exhibitions in Mathaf:
September 2022 to February 2023: “Majaz: Contemporary Art Qatar”;
September 2022 to January 2023: “Taysir Batniji: No Condition is Permanent”;
September 2022 to January 2023: “Sophia Al-Maria: Invisible Labors Daydream Therapy”;
September 2022 to January 2023: “One Tiger or Another”.
To learn more, please visit the official webpage of the museum.
You may be also interested in visiting Miraj Islamic Art Centre.