Eighty new pieces of public art are being installed across the country and various exhibitions are planned in Doha.
Qatar has been the subject of negative press from those who have not yet experienced the Gulf state, Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al Thani said at the Qatar Economic Forum (QEF) on Wednesday.
“I think we try to show the diversity of the Arab world, but we also want people to experience Qatar as it really is. There is such a negative press about Qatar, which is quite inaccurate from people who have never been to Qatar,” said Sheikha Al Mayassa.
The comments by the senior Qatari official refer to a wave of criticism that has emerged – mostly from the west – since the Gulf state won the bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup more than a decade ago .
Doha is in the global spotlight mainly for issues related to migrant workers and labor law. However, authorities say the introduction of landmark reforms, including the dismantling of the Kafala system and the region’s first minimum wage law, have been widely rejected and ignored by critics.
In her discussion on Wednesday, Sheikha Al Mayassa referred to the speech by Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani at the World Economic Forum (WEF).
During his remarks, the Qatari leader took aim at unfair criticism of the Gulf state – the first to host the FIFA World Cup in the Middle East.
“For decades, the Middle East has suffered from discrimination. And I have found that such discrimination is largely based on people not knowing us and in some cases refusing to know us,” the emir said last month.
Echoing the Emir’s statements, Sheikha Al Mayassa said that “the World Cup serves as a step towards unifying people” while opening up conversations between those who come from different cultural backgrounds.
“The World Cup is a great opportunity to celebrate people and celebrate our differences to have those conversations, even though those conversations are difficult, even though you may disagree on those conversations,” the Qatari royal added.
A booming art scene
As President of Qatar Museums (QM), Sheikha Al Mayassa has been at the forefront of transforming the local art scene.
As Doha nears kick-off in November, the arts institute has redoubled its efforts to spearhead initiatives to introduce the Arab world and Qatar to millions of incoming visitors.
Sheikha Al Mayassa revealed that 80 new pieces of public art are being installed across the country, noting that various exhibitions are planned for the big event.
“We have an amazing exhibit in conjunction with the Baghdad Museum as well as other museums in Europe and the United States. It talks about 500 years of the Abbasi Empire when Baghdad was a capital of the Islamic world,” the QM chairman said.
Other exhibitions planned include the Labor of Love exhibition with the Palestinian Museum, focusing on textiles from the illegally occupied land. The initiatives carried out by the Museums Authority also fall within the framework of the Qatar National Vision (2030).
“We have created a 25-year plan that fits perfectly into this vision of human capacity development that we have in Qatar and the region,” noted Sheikha Al Mayassa, adding that it aims to introduce the country to foreigners from around the world. in a more authentic way. .
One initiative includes the activation of heritage sites, including the abandoned village of Ain Mohammed.
“A particular project that I am very excited about is Ain Mohammed, because the people who run this village are actually descendants of the original families and tribes who lived there centuries ago,” the Qatari king said.
Seeking to bring out key elements of Qatari culture, authorities plan to set up 1,000 “Bedouin-style” tents in the desert for World Cup fans. An exhibition of nomadic tents will also welcome visitors during this global event.
“For the World Cup, we are opening an exhibition on nomadic tents, because we are very proud of our past and it connects the regions of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. And that’s going to be the highlight of our program,” the QM manager said.
Meanwhile, Sheikha Al Mayassad also revealed a major announcement to the public from QEF, in which she confirmed a new desert artwork by Icelandic-Danish artist Olafur Eliasson. This will follow an exhibition in Doha next March at the National Museum of Qatar.
As foreign artworks continue to flow into the country, the Gulf state is also keen to ensure support for local artists in different industries, from filmmakers to artisans.
“We depend a lot on the organic role of our culture and our society,” said Sheikha Al Mayassa.