American Artist KAWS collaborated with Acute Art to create an app called COMPANION (EXPANDED). The idea for the app came from the project EXPANDED HOLIDAY, the new augmented reality project consists of a global public exhibition as well as entirely new AR sculptures that users can display, view, photograph, and share through the Acute Art app. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the COMPANION version was created for users to use in the comfort of their own homes.
KAWS is a multimedia artist based in New York City, and his works have garnered him global recognition. He is a multimedia artist having done murals, paintings, and large scale sculpture.
This year, in January 2020, KAWS debuted an inflatable large scale sculpture on the dhow harbor in Doha, Qatar. He was commissioned by Qatar museums to carry out an exhibition ‘He Eats Alone,’ which showcased his work spanning his twenty-year career at the fire station venue near the harbor.
Acute Art collaborates with some of the world’s most compelling artists to find new avenues via technology to share their creative vision through the digital mediums, including augmented and mixed realities.
The new Acute Art app allows users to discover and become interactive with KAWS’ artwork through augmented reality. The app engages audiences that might not have a relationship to art in the traditional sense, taking the experience out of the gallery and into our homes.
The app is free to download until April 15th through the Apple Store and Google Play.
The number of coronavirus cases is increasing around the world, which has led to the inevitable order for a majority of people to stay indoors and self- quarantine. While we stay inside here’s an alternative option for entertainment; virtual tours. You can view art from famous museums around the globe digitally, at home. Google Cultural Institute has partnered with over 2,500 cultural sites to offer online access to collections and online exhibits. Here is a list of some of the best art museums that the US and Qatar have to offer.
You can access these virtual museum tours at the following link.
Guggenheim, New York City
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York City boasts a collection of Impressionist, Post- Impressionist, Early Modern, and contemporary works, as well as temporary exhibitions throughout the year.
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
Located on the National Mall, the Gallery’s collection of paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculpture, medals, and decorative arts traces the development of Western Art from the Middle Ages to the present, including the only painting by Leonardo da Vinci in the Americas and the largest mobile created by Alexander Calder.
J Paul Getty Museum
Also known as The Getty Museum, is located in Los Angeles, and has two campuses located in Getty Villa and the Getty Center. The primary museum, Getty Center, houses European paintings, drawings, sculpture, decorative arts and photography from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century, gathered internationally. The Getty villa hosts collections of Ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria.
Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art
Located in Doha, Qatar, the museum celebrates the modern and contemporary, showcasing works by artists based in Qatar, the Middle East, and the international Arab diaspora. The museum offers an Arab perspective on modern and contemporary art. It is considered to be one of the most important cultural attractions in the country.
The Art Institute of Chicago
The Art Institute is located in Chicago’s Grant Park, is one of the oldest and largest art museums in the United States. It houses some of the most iconic pieces of art by abstract artist, Pablo Picasso and post-impressionist artist Georges Suerat. As an art institute it has one of the largest art history and architecture libraries in the country.
Museum of Islamic Art
The museum is built on an island off of an artificial projecting peninsula near the traditional dhow harbor in Doha. It is one of the world’s most complete collections of Islamic artifacts originating from Spain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, India, and Central Asia.It holds Islamic art from three continents over 1,400 years.
The MoMA, Museum of Modern Art
The museum is located in midtown Manhattan and is considered one of the most influential museums of modern art in the world. MoMA’s collection offers an overview of modern and contemporary art, including works of architecture and design, drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, prints, illustrated books and artist’s books, film, and electronic media.
The Met Is the largest art museum in the United States, located in Manhattan, New York City, and is the third most frequented art museum in the world. The permanent collection consists of works of art from classical antiquity and ancient Egypt, paintings, and sculptures from nearly all the European masters, and an extensive collection of American and modern art.
Marchitecture is an annual month dedicated to Qatar’s architecture and Urban Design. Open to Culture Pass Members, the month-long tour, and series of workshops showcase Qatar’s beautiful buildings and cultural sites. Its mission is to highlight the importance and beauty of the country’s architectural history and future. The program gives members exclusive access to cultural experiences in a variety of locations.
Qatar has seen notable growth in its architectural landscape, with the juxtaposition of traditional and modern aesthetics. This year the tour focuses on the Modern Day Architecture of Qatar. The program, already underway began with an in-depth overview of the Qatar Foundation building. The series will go on to review and inform the program participants of various other architectural attractions that Qatar has to offer from Msheireb Downtown to the Weill-Cornell Medicine Campus in Education City to the Qatar National Museum. The Culture Pass allows members unique insights on the unique path of modernity Qatar has utilized in its practice of design and construction of infrastructure.
Qatar Museums created the program as part of their cultural programs, which provides members with access to various tours, workshops, and talks tailored to their artistic interests. To become a member, visit the Qatar Museum’s website.
(Image Source: Qatar Museums Website Graphic)
QAI is honored to announce a new Board of Directors, as well as the Board’s new Chairwoman, Peggy Loar. The new Board now consists of both Qatari and American professionals who will help bring QAI to the forefront of the US-Qatar partnership and position our institution to create an ever-growing footprint within the United States. The new Board brings a wealth of knowledge due to their deep understanding of the US-Qatar partnership and a perspective that has been shaped by an experience in a wide array of fields dealing with the art, culture, and academia.
Our new Chairwoman, Peggy Loar, is a museum professional with global experience in museum planning, and program development, museum architecture and design, and museum leadership. From 2008 to 2013, she served as the founding Director of the new National Museum of Qatar, in Doha, designed by Jean Nouvel, where she brought 30 years of experience in museum planning and management, exhibition design and educational programming to the Qatar Museums Authority.
Brief Board Member Overview:
Sheikha Al-Misnad, is an academic who has occupied numerous positions in teaching, administration, and research for over three decades, including the presidency of Qatar University from 2003 to 2015. Ashraf Abu-Issa is a Qatari businessman and the Chairman of Abuissa Holding. Khalid Ibrahim AI-Sulaiti, Ph.D. is currently the General Manager of Katara Cultural Village Foundation and brings 20+ years of progressive experience in academia, marketing, and management positions spanning several sectors.
Sandra Bell Wilkins has had a career in fashion since 1968 and was the Chair of the Fashion Department at VCUQatar from 2005 to 2016. Stephen Pettit most recently served as the Chairman and Managing Director of the Qatari Diar, America’s Division, where he was responsible for strategic planning, relationship management, complex negotiations, and as a director of numerous subsidiaries, affiliates and joint ventures of Qatari Diar in Europe and the Americas. Josh Corless is the vice president, International Government Affairs & Political Risk for ConocoPhillips. Christopher Nixon Cox is a businessman and lawyer living in New York City. He is the owner of OC Global Partners, LLC, a company specializing in cross border transactions. A.T. Smith, a native of Greenville, South Carolina, is an independent consultant specializing in business development in the security, cybersecurity, privacy, and identity space.
The National Museum of Qatar is the only cultural destination in the world to have won two prestigious LCD Berlin Awards for 2020: A New Culture Destinations of the Year award in the ‘Middle East and Africa’ category and a Leading Culture Destinations of the Year award for Best Museum Shop.
Designed by award-winning architect Jean Nouvel, the National Museum of Qatar tells the story of Qatar’s heritage and culture through the usage of films and artworks, artifacts, and music that when combined display the wide range of the Qatari ‘voice’ and people.
The National Museum is organized as a thematic and chronological sequence of galleries, which take the visitor on a 1.5-km (9-mile) journey through immersive, multisensory experiences.
The building is based on the form of the desert rose, composed of large interlocking disks of different diameters and curvatures that surround the restored historic Palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani (1880-1957), the son of the founder of modern Qatar.
The organic design and craftsmanship of Nouvel’s architecture echo that of the museum shop where Japanese interior designer Koichi Takada communicates his vision of bringing nature back into architecture through a magnificent design of honey-hued timber curves inspired by Qatar’s Dahl Al Misfir (Cave of Light).
40,000 individual pieces of wood were assembled by hand, like a puzzle, by the Italian master carpenter, Claudio Devoto, and his team. The gift shop at the National Museum of Qatar offers a large collection of well-designed, exclusive gifts, many of which draw their inspiration from the history, heritage, and culture of Qatar.
(Image Source: LCD Berlin)
The Qatar-America Institute hosts its’ Expressions Artist Talk in Washington on both creating and teaching documentary filmmaking with renowned filmmaker Marco Williams and Michael Dyson.
The Qatar-America Institute (QAI) hosted their Expressions Artist Talk, “Fostering Multiculturalism in Film: Reflections & Lessons as a Film Professor in the Arab World,” featuring renowned filmmaker and Northwestern University professor Marco Williams at its Washington office.
Most recently, Professor Williams completed a film called “The Undocumented” – a PBS broadcast/ Independent Lense featured documentary. In 2007, Williams directed and produced “Banished,” a movie that documents African-American descendants’ experiences as they return to the former homes that earlier generations of their families were once evicted from.
The program was moderated by Georgetown professor Michael Dyson, who serves as a regular commentator on National Public Radio, MSNBC, and CNN. Professor Williams discussed his teaching experience while at Northwestern University’s Qatar campus.
As part of his discussion, Williams exhibited his students’ short series Naseeb. Naseeb examines the plight of a young woman as she pursues her dream of becoming an architect against the wishes of her mother, who instead wants her to be married.
The screening of the series served as a jumping-off point for the two academics as they discussed how the students’ creation served as a reflection of the complexity within various parts of Arabian Gulf society and, in general, the greater Muslim world.
Other aspects of the discussion centered around issues of patriarchy within both the West and the East; how one can teach without allowing Western bias to seep into the classroom; and how to best discuss sensitive issues through the usage of Film as a medium.
Fostering Multiculturalism in Film” was a part of QAI’s Expressions Artist Talk series, which features American personalities, artists, and creatives who have lived or worked in Qatar and whose works are inspired and influenced by Qatari culture. The guest speakers share their own experiences and reflections, followed by questions and answers from the audience.
On February 25th, 2020, the Qatar-America Institute (QAI), in partnership with the Doha Film Institute (DFI), hosted a film screening at the Tribeca Film Center in New York City. The event celebrated DFI’s work in championing emerging filmmaking talent in Qatar and the MENA region. The event saw a screening of the Short Cuts to Qatar program, a series of seven short films made by Qatar-based filmmakers. Several of the films screened were recipients of support from DFI’s grants program, which provides development, production, and postproduction funding to domestic and international filmmakers.
The genres of the films ranged from animation to documentary. They displayed the creative talent of young filmmakers as they grappled, through their art, portraying the everyday lives, struggles, and triumphs of the Middle East’s youth-dominated societies.
The following films were part of the screening: Maha’ Mel (Ships) by Dhabya Al-Muhannadi; The Unlucky Hamster by Abdulaziz Khashabi; I Am Not My Father by Naif Hassan Al-Malki; Voyager by Khalifa Al-Marri; Nasser Goes to Space by Mohammed Al-Mahmeed; Revive the Lira’s Glory by Alessandra El Chanti; Socotra by Ching Siew Hua.
Following the screening, QAI hosted a brief discussion with Alessandra El Chanti, who directed the short film “Revive the Lira’s Glory.” The film, centered around the work of a Lebanese artist, Ibrahim Sultani, captured the nature of both the economic and sectarian crisis gripping Lebanon. Sultani, rather than focusing on contemporary political figures, paints portraits of Lebanese icons on banknotes.
El Chanti, who pursued her undergraduate studies at Northwestern University in Qatar, is currently a candidate for the Masters of Fine Arts at Northwestern’s Illinois campus. As a student trained and submerged in the universal language of film, El Chanti embodies the educational and cultural exchange that QAI takes as its mission to highlight and celebrate.
Professor Nurhaizatul Jamil, Assistant Professor in Global South Studies and the co-director of the Social Media Lab at The Pratt Institute, moderated the Q&A session with El Chanti and the audience. At Pratt, Professor Jamil teaches classes on Women in the Muslim world, Middle Eastern communities and cultures, decolonizing methodologies, and fashion and sustainability studies. Her current research examines the entanglements between modest fashion and sustainability within Muslim communities.
Several of the films screened appeared in the 2019 edition of the Ajyal Film Festival, DFI’s marquee annual film festival. ‘Ajyal,’ Arabic for ‘generations,’ brings people of all ages together through screenings and events that inspire creative interaction and stimulate cinematic dialogue. QAI was honored to help bring a flavor of Ajyal to New York City, showcasing DFI’s efforts to encourage the growth of storytelling through the medium of film in the region and the world. As a complement to Ajyal’s drive to promote filmmaking talent, DFI also spearheads a mentorship program for aspiring filmmakers, known as Qumra.
Qumra is an annual initiative that offers mentorship and practical development experience, via its Qumra Master Classes, for filmmakers from Qatar and around the world. Internationally accredited professionals in the film industry teach the Qumra Master Classes. Qumra 2019 ran for five days, from March 15th to March 20th. The program included an array of public screenings and events. The featured selections were films produced by Qumra Masters and by the recipients of DFI’s grants programs.
The New York screening of the Short Cuts to Qatar program was made possible by the generous support of the Qatar National Tourism Council, which is curating Qatar as the Middle East’s destination of choice for leisure and business travelers.
Since its founding in 2010, DFI has been dedicated to film appreciation, education, and building a dynamic film industry in Qatar that focuses on nurturing regional storytellers while being entirely global in its scope.
QAI is an independent Washington D.C.-based nonprofit organization that hosts an open space to convene people, facilitate cross-cultural exchanges, and develop educational research on the strategic and cultural ties between the United States and the State of Qatar.
The National Museum of Qatar (NMQ) opened two of its highly anticipated children’s playgrounds to the public on 15 February 2020. The playgrounds are specially created outdoor play areas as part of the second phase of NMoQ’s opening. The two playgrounds have very distinct themes. The first playground is named ‘The Cave of Wonders.’ The replica dahl, or cave, has openings in the roof and glowing rocks to allow light into the cave. The cave also contains “archaeological artifacts” in the sand, rock carvings, bats, and a giant gecko.
Rahmah Bin Jaber, a historical figure and captain as well as a famous Arabian horse and pearl trader, inspired the second playground. The second playground, ‘Adventure Ship,’ is inspired by Rahmad Bin Jaber and his Ghatrousha. Rahmad Bin Jaber was a famous captain known for trading horses and pearls.
The Ghatrousha is a type of dhow or Qatari boat. While enjoying this playground, children can learn about sailing, pearling, fishing, trading throughout the ages. The children will learn about Qatari culture and history with the stories and songs, cargo, and treasure found at the ‘Adventure Ship’ playground.
Both ‘The Cave of Wonders’ and ‘Adventure Ship’ are designed to engage all ages and aim to bring the NMoQ’s collection and galleries to life. The playgrounds encourage visitors to explore not just the galleries themselves but also Qatar’s natural and cultural offerings.
“We are committed to ensuring that museums are a place of learning for all generations. From the natural formation of the land to a time where Qatar was one of the major pearl traders of Asia, the playgrounds – similar to the permanent galleries at the National Museum of Qatar – are immersive and experiential, telling the story of Qatar and its people. As we progress towards the second phase of the museum’s opening, we look forward to welcoming both children and adults as they explore two very important parts of our country’s heritage and culture.”
– H.E. Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums
Last year, the National Museum of Qatar revealed that TOTAL, one of the top oil and gas companies in Qatar, is the official sponsor of the third playground. The third and final playground will focus on oil and gas and will open later this year.
To go along with the opening of the two NMoQ playgrounds, The Al Khor Family Park has reopened after it was closed for three months during renovations, which include the addition of a zoo. The new design of the park is spread across almost 2,600,000 square feet. Over 4,000 people visited the massive park in its first two days of being reopened. The zoo is home to rhinoceroses, elephants, giraffes, lions, crocodiles, and several different species of monkeys, birds, and oryx.
There is also a large play area with new games and a train for kids to play in. The upgraded park includes more coffee shops, restaurants, toilets, and other facilities. Abdullah Maqlad al-Muraikhi, a member of the Central Municipal Council for Constituency 25, stressed that the park has become much better after the renovations, expressing his happiness and that it would have a positive impact on increasing the tourism in the city of Al Khor.
(Image Source: Twitter – @emranabdullah3)
Doha Film Institute (DFI) and The Qatar-America Institute (QAI) partnered on a delegation to Los Angeles to highlight Qatar’s role in supporting Arab Cinema and MENA region filmmakers during Oscars week.
Los Angeles, CA – February 16th, 2020: The Qatar-America Institute (QAI) joined together with program partner the Doha Film Institute (DFI) for QAI’s Expert Voices delegation to Los Angeles during the 2020 Oscars week. Expert Voices Series, a QAI initiative sponsored by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (S.C.), invites experts from Qatar as a medium for encouraging broader and more diverse conversations and collaborations between Qatari experts with U.S.-based leaders in the fields of culture, sports, and technology. This month’s Expert Voices delegation to L.A., focusing on film, consisted of DFI’s CEO Fatma Hassan Alremaihi, QAI’s Executive Director, Fatima Al-Dosari, and Abdullah Al-Mosallam, Deputy Director of Ajyal Film Festival and Chief Administrative Officer of DFI.
The delegation’s objective aimed to highlight Qatar, a major investor in the U.S. and soon-to-be home to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, as a force in the film industry via the Doha Film Institute. In addition to showcasing the nation’s role in supporting and championing films, filmmakers, and creatives from the region, the Expert Voices delegation solidified existing relationships and fostered new ones in California. The Expert Voices trip to L.A. presented an opportunity for QAI and DFI to act on their new partnership and join together in strengthening the voices from the region, through the power of films and storytelling, and by engaging in conversations on the importance of female empowerment and multicultural representation.
Fatima Al-Dosari, Executive Director of the Qatar America Institute, said, “We are thrilled to have this opportunity to join our partner, the Doha Film Institute, in L.A. to champion the three Qatari-backed films that were recognized at this year’s Oscars: the DFI-granted films The Cave and Brotherhood and the Al-Jazeera Witness supported film St. Louis Superman. We are also excited to showcase the strong ties between Qatar and the U.S. through its investments and partnerships in California, In fact, these ties will continue through Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which will bring over $10 billion worth of business to U.S. firms, followed by a close handover from 2022 in Qatar to 2026 in the United States.”
The delegates met with industry leaders in Los Angeles ahead of attending the 2020 Oscars, where two of DFI’s supported films were nominated: The Cave, a Syrian civil war film directed by Feras Fayyad was nominated in the Best Documentary Feature category, while Brotherhood, a Tunisian film by Montreal-based filmmaker Meryam Joobeur, earned a nomination under the Best Live Action Short Films category.
Fatma Hassan Alremaihi, Chief Executive Officer of the Doha Film Institute, said, “Bridging the gap between east and west cultures is at the forefront of Qatar’s public diplomacy, so we are very grateful for this opportunity to further strengthen our ties with our peers in America. Our commitment to supporting global storytelling has given volume to important new voices, and we are proud to be associated with a diverse range of films that have won critical acclaim and top honors at the world’s leading film events. Arab cinema is in a good place right now due to the efforts of our emerging filmmakers who continue to bring our stories to the rest of the world, with unique perspectives that promote cross-cultural exchange and encourage dialogue and discourse.”
The activity-filled week included a meeting at City Hall with City of Beverly Hills Mayor John Mirisch’s office to discuss Qatar’s pivotal role in the state of California, a relationship that extends beyond the financial sphere into the fields of arts, sports, technology, education, and entertainment. His Excellency Khalid Al Sada, Consul General of the State of Qatar in Los Angeles, hosted a dinner at his home in honor of the DFI-funded films, joined by the producers behind the Oscar-nominated film Brotherhood and special guest Brigitte Lacombe, an esteemed French photographer.
The delegates also enjoyed a private tour of the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, prior to attending The International Feature Films of the 92nd Oscars Reception, spotlighting the nominees for Best International Feature Film. QAI and DFI were also honored to join the exclusive luncheon celebrating the female Oscar nominees hosted by fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg. The event toasts women’s empowerment with a special focus on von Furstenberg’s InCharge movement and the Academy’s Women’s Initiative.
QAI also partnered with Deborah Sawaf, CEO & Founder of the luxury handbag brand, Thalé Blanc, to host a High Tea and Talk on multiculturalism and female empowerment in the creative and tech industries, with special guest speakers DFI’s Fatma Hassan Alremaihi and the CEO and Founder of The Female Quotient, Shelley Zalis. The event gathered members of the L.A. community to learn about Qatar’s role in advancing women’s rights in the Middle East, DFI’s work in supporting MENA region representation in the international film community, and the importance of promoting women in the technology and creative fields.
David Beckham has signed a £180 million (roughly $232million) deal with Qatar Foundation to sponsor his new Major league Soccer team, Inter Miami CF. The sponsorship deal includes the Qatar Foundation logo featured as the jersey’s main sponsor, as well as being represented and visible at the Inter Miami CF Stadium in Miami.
The new team, Inter Miami, makes its MLS debut on 01 March 2020 in Los Angeles against LAFC. Two weeks later, they will make their home debut on 14 March 2020 against the LA Galaxy (Beckham’s former MLS club).
The Qatar Foundation, founded in 1995 by His Highness the Father Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, is a non-profit organization made up of over 50 different entities to create opportunity and empower people throughout the world through education, science, and cultural development. Qatar Foundation previously sponsored well known Spanish club Barcelona for two seasons.
(Image Source: Inter Miami CF)