HISTORY THROUGH ART
Mathaf will never close its doors to art lovers for its permanent collection is now on show. A look through art that spans recent historical times. The museum also introduces Iran's most prolific artist Shirin Neshat who touches on feminism, oppression and emotions of grief and loss that follow the killings during the Arab Spring.
Some of the art on display at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha is familiar. They had been on display when the Museum opened its collection to the public in 2010. Now the museum has opened a display of its permanent collection that will be exhibited throughout the year at the museum on the first floor. Entitled Mathaf Collection, Summary, Part 1, the exhibition presents over 100 artists and has over 400 works from the museum's collection of more than 8,000 works that continues to grow with new acquisitions and commissions from Mathaf exhibitions. The exhibition includes works from Qatar and the Arab world, Iran, Turkey and other regions historically connected to the Arab Peninsula, reflecting a multitude of artistic directions and contexts. This exhibition also contributes to developing research into the collection and its interconnections with contemporary cultures that is also present online in the Encyclopedia of Modern Art and the Arab World, developed by Mathaf.
While the collection includes some of the most prominent artists in the region, many of whose works are being sold from auction houses at ridiculously high prices
IN FLIGHT hiking up the value of their works of art, it is a revelation to find so many of them housed within Qatar's own collection houses -- a reflection of how far the country is trying to get the best pieces possible for its budding collection. Though for Abdellah Karroum, Director of Mathaf, the collection is, “not about the value of the art that we exhibit,” but about the “historical significance these pieces have on that particular time and place of history.” He says, “Through this exhibition we are seeking to position modern and contemporary art from Mathaf's collection within the local and global context, and give multiple entry points into the collection, through artistic research, historical moments and aesthetic experimentations on the idea of an Arab modernity.”
“In most cases artists were the first and foremost recorders of history and their art is an important documentation that has helped us understand the history of our recent era,” says Karroum. Like the depiction of the return of Mahmal to Cairo by George C Michelet dated 1902.
But the most striking exhibits are show-
Suspended Together by Manal Al Dowayan, part of Mathaf's