Qatar puts Focus on its Cultural Sector at the Venice Biennale
On the eve of International Museum Day, Qatar Creates unveiled the new documentary exhibition Building a Creative Nation, the first presentation outside the country about Qatar’s next generation of cultural institutions. On view at ACP – Palazzo Franchetti during the 18th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, the exhibition will be open until 26 November 2023. Also on view at the same venue is an exhibition by the renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma.
The exhibition, designed by 2 x 4, highlights the development of Qatar’s cultural sector over the past 18 years, and demonstrates Qatar Museums’ commitment to promoting cultural understanding and exchange through its establishment of a world-class portfolio of museums, galleries, and public art, which serve not only to preserve cultural heritage but also as platforms for education, research, and entertainment for the public.
Building a Creative Nation underscores Qatar’s steadfast commitment to expanding the country’s cultural landscape over the last eighteen years and showcases plans for five more cultural institutions in collaboration with internationally renowned architectural firms, including Art Mill Museum by ELEMENTAL led by Alejandro Aravena, Lusail Museum by Herzog & de Meuron, Qatar Auto Museum by Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), Qatar Preparatory School by Philippe Starck, and Dadu, Children’s Museum of Qatar by UNStudio.
Also at the Palazzo Franchetti is a special exhibition of the work of Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, where a large-scale metal pavilion designed by Kuma occupies a central space in the walled garden of the palazzo.
The exhibition “Kengo Kuma: Onomatopoeia Architecture” presents projects, and models, across the full range of Kuma’s work in Japan and around the world – including the V&A Dundee.
An insightful talk titled “The Evolving Role of Museums and Architecture in Fostering Cultural Engagement” took place to accompany the exhibition on 17 May. The esteemed panel of speakers included Alejandro Aravena, architect and executive director of ELEMENTAL, Ben van Berkel, architect and founder of UNStudio, and Sheikha Reem Al Thani, Acting Deputy CEO of Exhibitions for Qatar Museums, who shared their expertise and perspectives. The talk focused on the transformation of museums from mere structures housing collections to active players in fostering local talent, promoting cultural heritage, and engaging with communities. The group also discussed topics such as how museums’ changing roles in social and cultural life influence design, and the significant role architecture plays in shaping the cultural identity of a city or country.
The talk was followed by a private event held on the same evening, hosted by His Excellency Khalid bin Yousuf Al-Sada, Qatar’s Ambassador to Italy, who welcomed international guests, architects, museum directors and Qatar Museums representatives, for a preview of the next generation of Qatar’s cultural institutions.
Sheikha Reem Al Thani remarked on the exhibition, saying: “We are incredibly proud to share our vision for the next generation of cultural institutions with the world. This unique exhibition showcases our commitment to cultural evolution, combining innovation with respect for our past.”
The unveiling of the exhibition coincides with International Museum Day, an annual celebration held on 18 May which raises awareness about the part museums play in the development of society. The day, which is marked by cultural institutions around the world, intends to highlight the ways in which museums contribute to the preservation and promotion of cultural heritage, as well as their role in education, research, and entertainment, values which align with Qatar Museum’s forward-looking cultural objectives, outlined in the Qatar National Vision 2030.