The Dialogue over Qatar

Private art gallery Eiwan Al Gassar in Doha invited artists who reside in Qatar to share  their personal perspective of the country, its development, people and distinctive architecture through art. The resulting exhibition curated by Bachir Mohamad is an insightful portrayal of diverse mediums and perceptions that seems to elevate visual aesthetics and strengthen the culture of art in the country.

Qatar’s art scene is at thriving. Every inch of the land is filled with art forms, structures, and installations that astounded the FIFA World Cup 2022 visitors. Most of this is a state-initiated project through Qatar Museums whose chairperson is HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bin Hamad Al Thani, the sister of the Amir of the country, HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. But there is a parallel art movement, though obviously not as exceptional as the Qatar Museums efforts though equally  committed, initiated by the art galleries owned by private art enthusiasts of the country.

Eiwan Al Gassar, within the St Regis property is a space where various creative aesthetics and artists are given a platform to elevate visual aesthetics and strengthen the culture of art. Derived from Arabic, Eiwan, which refers to the spacious courtyards to welcome guests and visitors, the gallery space is the destination for artists from around the world with a special focus to art from the land and the region around it.

During the months of FIFA World Cup 2022, a new exhibition called Dialogue was initiated at the Eiwan Al Gassar gallery curated by Bachir Mohammed. Aimed to give an insight into the life and culture of the country for the visiting population. Dialogue highlights difference as an interesting point of view through a unique experiment that brings artists from three generations with diverse cultural and intellectual backgrounds.

Mohamad who is excited about every project he undertakes tell us more about the curatorial process deployed for this exhibition.

“The exhibition opened on December 1, 2022 and we wanted to give the world an insight into the local art scene. The theme was about Qatar, but divided into for aspects. When you enter the gallery, you see artworks that highlight Qatari women, their traditional wears, their customs and gives them due respect. Hassan Al Mulla, Mubarak Al Malik, Masoud Al Bulushi, Salman Al Malik and my art work, all of which acknowledge and convey reverence to the women of the region. The empowerment of women in the region was the central theme of these artworks.

“The rest of the artwork gives a take on the local architecture, the customs of the region and the topography of the region by artist such as Ahed Alkhatib, Sharefa Al Mannai’s dream-like depiction of Qatar and its landscape, the clouds, the flora and rains, the pop of colours by Wafika Sultan, and the radical architecture by Mubarak Al Thani’s recognisable works.

Resin in wood, Work by Lulu M.

“Then comes abstract works which includes the sculpture by Ahmed Al Bahrani, Lulu’s resin work on canvas, and an emerging artist Iyad Mouawad from Lebanon. The last past of the exhibition touches on digital works and multi-media installations with Maria Ovsyannikova who has a new style where she printed her photography work and then painted over it with water colour giving them a completely different look, Khalifa Al Thani’s multi-media installation, Jaber Henzab with his juxtaposition of buildings and personalities giving each architectural work a new meaning through association. “

The artwork reflects different art schools whether it is multi-media  or installation and through each of them gives a perspective of the artists views of his or her own country, its landscape and the people in it.

Mohamad like all curators cannot pick on one favorite artwork though he does mention that he loves the diversity each artist brings to the exhibition, be it through the juxtaposition of the old and new Qatar through multi-media works of Khalifa Al Thani, or Lulu’s layered approach and the colours of the country she loves, Haifa Al Khuzaei’s wall art, Bahrani’s art and sculpture or be it Al Mannai’s beautiful installation.

“Each artist has introduced the country through their perspective and hence it brings in diversity to the country we live in,” he says.

SCALE’s pick of 5 artwork not to miss from the exhibition:

Ahed Al Khatib’s sketches:

This Doha-based architects’ commitment to drawing led him to master the technique of on-site architectural drawing which has brought about prints that reflect on the developing urban landscape of the country.

Bachir Mohamad’s Welcome the World

A bronze sculpture with a carpet of Sadu work that seems to welcome the world to Qatar is represented here. The artist chose to use the geographical map of Qatar as a background for his sculpture to emphasise its grandeur and it’s support for its citizens in their aspirations for the future. Engraved on the map are local motifs taken from a traditional Qatari door from the permanent collection of the National Museum of Qatar, to signify the transition and passage from a traditional To a more modern one. He also considered that the best representative of the Qatari nation Is a Qatari woman as she is an integral part of the homeland, considering she has proven her worth in all fields.


Tradition and the new age tradition

Here Mohamad compares the traditional Batoola worn by older women in the region to the new-age accessory, the mask.

Reem Al Hadid:

Her photography tells stories of the country and the people in a new detailed perspective that seem very personal.


Salman Al Malik

His works on the main display wall of the gallery is attention grabbing for the colours used and the perspectives of women portrayed. His work and art is so distinctive with strong lines that curve and slash across the canvas to create beautiful people, it’s almost impossible not to focus on them.

Khalifa Al Thani:

A different approach to the theme and hence distinctive.