Arab Museum of Modern Art: Celebrating Arab Creativity

Exploring the Diverse and Evocative World of Arab Modern Art

Mathaf is The Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, Qatar offers an Arab perspective on modern and contemporary art, supporting creativity, fostering dialogue, and inspiring new ideas. The museum has a collection of over 9,000 items and also offers special exhibitions, a library, and comprehensive educational programs. Opened in 2010, he is considered one of the country’s top cultural attractions.

Mathaf houses the world’s largest collection of modern and contemporary Arabic art.

History of the Arab Museum of Modern Art

Translated, Mathaf means “museum”. The original collection was assembled by Sheikh Hassan bin Mohammed Al-Thani, and the QMA, as a public body chaired by Sheikh Almayassa Al-Thani, provided the conditions for its preservation.

In the early 1990s, Sheikh Hassan began building a collection of works of art produced by artists from the Arab world over the past 200 years with the goal of establishing a museum that could capture and express the artists of the region. bottom.

From the 1990s to his early 2000s, the collection was kept in his two private villas in Madinat, Doha, his Khalifa, while Sheikh Hassan and his early advisors and collaborators had an idea of ​​what the Arab perspective on modern and contemporary art and museums might be.

History of the Arab Museum of Modern Art
History of the Arab Museum of Modern Art

1. In 2010

In 2010, the museum opened in the Qatar Foundation’s Education City in Doha, housed in a former school building renovated by French architect Jean-François Bodin. At the time, the museum was the first museum in the country dedicated to modern and contemporary art.

Artist and former collaborator Sophia Al-Maria is an early example of Sheikh Hassan and the founding team to transform the facility into a 21st-century “post-museum” a young term that describes a transparent, interaction-oriented museum model. Let’s talk more about intent. ‘The first exhibition was ‘Sajjil:

The ‘Century of Contemporary Art’ showcases 240 works by over 100 artists curated by Nada Shabout, Wassan Al-Kudairi, and Deena Chalabi “Intervention:

‘Conversation Between Modern and Contemporary’ curated by Nada Shabout, ‘Told/Untold/Retold’ curated by Sam Baldawil and Til Ferrath, featuring newly commissioned works by 23 contemporary artists.

Arab Museum of Modern Art
Arab Museum of Modern Art

2. In 2013

In 2013 Mathaf launched the Encyclopedia of Contemporary Art and the Arab World, a collection of in-depth biographies, essays, videos, and interviews researched by scholars and independent historians.

3. Chief Curator and Director

Wasan Al-Kudairi was the Museum’s first Chief Curator and Director, working at the Museum from 2007 to 2012. Michelle December served as interim director from 2012 until 2013. Moroccan curator Abdellah Karoom was appointed director of Mathaf in June 2013 and will serve there until May 2021. In November 2021, the Qatar Museum appointed Zeina Arida as the new director of Mathaf.

Collection Arab Museum of Modern Art

Housed in a former school building in Doha’s Learning City, the 5,500-square-meter museum was announced in 2014 to house a collection of over 9,000 works of art. It offers a rare comprehensive overview of contemporary Arabic art, representing major trends from the 1840s to the present day. The collection was donated to the Qatar Foundation by Sheikh Hassan bin Mohammed bin Ali Al-Thani and later acquired by the Qatar Museum Authority.

It is considered one of the largest collections of Arabic paintings and sculptures in the world. Qatar Museums Commissioner Sheikh Almayassa Al Thani said at the opening ceremony of Mathaf in 2010: “We want Qatar to be a place to see, explore and discuss the work of modern and contemporary Arab artists.”

Collection Arab Museum of Modern Art
Collection Arab Museum of Modern Art

Exhibitions Arab Museum of Modern Art

Mathaf’s permanent exhibitions are held in seven galleries on the upper floors, while the atrium and five galleries are dedicated to special exhibitions. This museum deals with the most important modern and contemporary trends in its collection. The permanent collection includes works by Etel Adnan, Youssef Ahmad, Manal Aldwayan, Farid Berkahia, Kamal Burrata, Sarua Lauda Shukea, Jilali Garbaoui, Shirin Neshat, Shakir Hassan Al Said, Wael Shawky and Chaivia Talal.

Mathof opened his December 30, 2010 exhibition with an exhibition called Sajir, which in Arabic means “act of acceptance,” presenting a cross-section of Arabic art over the last 100 years. At the same time, the museum hosted ‘Interventions’ and ‘Told/Untold/Retold’, an ambitious exhibition of newly commissioned works by 23 contemporary Arab artists.

1. In November 2014

In November 2014 Mathaf opened its permanent exhibition, Overview, Part 1, featuring 8,000 works of contemporary art. “Summary, Part 2” he opened in September 2017 as an updated permanent exhibition showcasing various works from the Matofus collection along with two of his FOCUS exhibitions.

Works from the Mathaf Collection series.

Exhibitions Arab Museum of Modern Art
Exhibitions Arab Museum of Modern Art

2. In 2015

In 2015 Mathaf launched a series of solo exhibitions entitled ‘FOCUS’.

Mathaf works from his collection. All featured artists are part of Mathaf’s permanent collection. The series began with an exhibition by artists Farid Berkahia, Abdelhalim Radwi, Faraj Daham, and Inji Aflatoon.

3. Other exhibitions organized by Masaf include:

    • “Now anForeverer: His Five Anecdotes from the Permanent Collection features new readings based on the work of five of his artists from Mathoff’s permanent collection.
    • “Selection from the Collection” devised by the Matov Curatorial Team.
    • “Khatt And After”, including pieces from Masaf’s permanent collection: Arab Museum of Modern Art.
    • “Adel Abdesmed:
    • “L’age d’Or”, supervised by Pier Luigi Tazzi, November 2013 to January 2014.
    • “Magdi Mostafa: Sound Element”, Project Lamb, Mathaf, 2013. “Permanent Mathaf Collection:
    • Painting, Sculpture and Garden Project”, December 2013-February 2014.

      Arab Museum of Modern Art, UAE
      Arab Museum of Modern Art, UAE
    • “Mona Hatum: Turbulence”, 2014
    • “Manal Ardwayan: Crash”, 2014, curated by Laura Barlow
    • “Etel Adnan In All Her Dimensions”, 2014, supervised by Hans Ulrich Obrist
    • “The Closest Ever to a Scientific Experiment,” by Gada Arkandari, edited by Alla Younis, 2014.
    • “Shirin Neshat: After that,” curated by Abdella Karoom, November 2014 to February 2015.
    • “Wael Shawkey: “Crusaders and Other Stories”, 2015, supervised by Abdellah Karom
    • “Dia Azawi: “A Retrospective (From 1963 to Tomorrow)”, Catherine David, 2016
    • “Hasan Sharif: Objects and Files,” curated by Laura Barlow, from March 2016 to her September 2016.
    • “Basim Madi: It all started with maps and photos of scattered tiny homes curated by Laura Barlow, from March 2017 to July 2017.
    • “Bousaina al-Mufta: Echoes,” July-September 2018.
Mathaf, Arab Museum of Modern Art
Mathaf, Arab Museum of Modern Art

Commitment to education at the Arab Museum of Modern Art

As a museum based on the premise of education and science, we have prepared a variety of programs for a wide range of people, including schools, universities, families, artists, and scientists. Highlights include the Mathaf Voices program, which trains local college students to tour the exhibition with their own perspective, and Artist Encounters, which invites artists to discuss concepts and lead workshops based on the process. there is. The museum also has a library.

Gallery of Arab Museum of Modern Art

  • Melons, by Daoud Corm, 1899
  • Mohammed Ben Ali Rbati
  • Settlement – Six Israelis & One Palestinian, by Steve Sabella, 2008-2010
  • Arab Motherhood, by Georges Hanna Sabbagh, 1920-1921
  • Abdul Qadir al-Rassam
  • Portrait of Mohamed Darouich al Allousi, by Abdul Qadir Al Rassam, 1924
Gallery of Arab Museum of Modern Art
Gallery of Arab Museum of Modern Art

Opening hours:

  • Saturday–Thursday: 9 am–7 pm
  • Fridays: 1.30–7 pm


  • Arab Museum of Modern Art, Education City, Doha, Qatar


The centerpiece of the museum is the collection of His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Mohammed bin Ali Al Thani, a member of Qatar’s ruling family, an artist himself, and an avid art collector. With a collection of 6,300 works of Arabic art dating from the 19th century to the present day, the museum, along with plans for a research center and library, is the first of its kind in the region.

Mathaf’s programs, exhibitions, and events offer an Arab perspective on international modern and contemporary art and serve as a platform for Arab artists. The museum is a modern space for dialogue about modern and contemporary art in the region, the Arab diaspora, and beyond.

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