A Coming Together of Artists in Residence at Mathaf

If you are heading to Mathaf, Arab Museum of Contemporary Arts, Majaz: Contemporary Art Qatar, is a colourful, diverse medium of artworks brought together in an exhibition that celebrates art in the country along with commemrating the completion of five years of Artist in Residency programme.

This exhibition celebrates five years of the Artist in Residence (AIR) programme at the Fire Station in Doha and the flourishing art scene in Qatar. In January 2021, the Fire Station invited 14 AIR alumni to participate in a six-month-long programme to develop new works for this exhibition. An additional 25 AIR alumni are featured in the exhibition, where they showcase works in a variety of disciplines including painting, sculpture, and new media while exploring different perspectives and reflections to unveil personal, cultural, and global concepts. The works will be displayed in dialogue with each other highlighting various elements of storytelling. The exhibition is curated by Saida Al Khulaifi, Acting Head of Residency Programmes and Amal Zeyad Ali, Exhibitions Coordinator at the Fire Station.

Majaz, a work that brings together 36 artists who were part of the AIR programme.

“The Artist in Residence programme at the Fire Station supports the creative development of emerging and mid-career artists and helps to promote local contemporary art. Majaz: Contemporary Art Qatar is a celebration of this programme and its alumni and an invitation to local and international audiences to view more than 80 artworks in one space,” said Al Khulaifi.

“We invited the AIR alumni to give us ideas of what they were working on to have an insight into their experience of the Artist in Residence programme. From this interaction we found out that a lot of them were working on this aspect of metaphor. Linked with metaphor is this idea of storytelling which included, spaces and places, character, and narrative. And it is through this exhibition that the artist take on the role of a narrator, recalling both shared and personal experiences to communicate ideas fundamental to the modern world,” explains Amal Zeyad Ali, he Exhibitions Coordinator who takes SCALE on a tour of the premises.

Work by Yasser Al Mulla, 2021, Acrylic and ink on canvas.

The exhibition is a mix of artwork, photography, sculpture, painting touching on diverse subjects, each delving into their own world, deriving inspiration from memories, dreams, daily life encounters, folklore, cites and architecture.  The works are all intrinsically connected to Qatar and the artists’ lives being in its unique community.

The exhibition features work by 36 artists who took part in the AIR programme at the Fire Station in the years 2015 – 2021.

Some of the artists’ works can be recognised for their distinctive touch; like Muna Al Bader’s royal blue fascination, Hassan Manasrah’s distinctive caricatures, Sara Al Ansari’s love for prints and fashion illustrations, Abeer Al Kuwari’s style that is characterised by a contemporary presentation of her heritage in terms of the ideas and materials she uses in her work, and so on.

Artworks by faculty, staff, and alumni from Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar), a Qatar Foundation (QF) partner university, are part of Majaz.

Othman Kunji, VCUArts Qatar Faculty who participated in Majaz.

Othman Khunji, Michael Perrone, Alaa Batta, Fatima Mohammed, Hadeer Omar, Jesse Payne, Majdulin Nasrallah, Maryam Al Homaid, Nourbanu Hijazi, and Ryan Browning from VCUarts Qatar are the artists who contributed to the exhibition that includes paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture, new media, and installations.

Micheal Perone’s work at Majaz.

Two VCUarts Qatar alumnae who currently work at Qatar Museums, Al Jazi Khalid Al Thani and Fatima Al Zaini were part of the team organising the exhibition.

Ryan-Browning from VCUArts Qatar with his work at Majaz.

Hadeer Omar with her work at Majaz.

Maryam Al Homaid’s handwoven carpets with calligraphy works that resemble works of art and celebrate the country, Fatima Mohammed’s prints on photo paper and her videos that focus on the stagnating amount of trash which also forms part of the installation, are some of our favourite artworks at Majaz.