Doha Institute for Graduate Studies Conference / Mathaf Annual Forum

Expanding Geographies of Resistance on Modern and Contemporary Art

Doha, 26 – 27 November 2018

Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha and Doha Institute for Graduate Studies (DI) hold a two day conference. The conference will explore Expanding Geographies of Resistance on Modern and Contemporary Art, a theme conceived in parallel to the Museum’s fall exhibitions program that is dedicated to several generations of artistic practice that deal with social and cultural histories, with a particular focus on the post-independence era in North Africa and the Middle East. 

Fateh al-Moudarres: Colour, Extensity and Sense

Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha

17 Oct 2018 – 16 Feb 2019

Fateh al-Moudarres: Colour, Extensity and Sense presents a revisionist lens into the studio practice of the influential modernist Syrian artist.  Deliberately organized as a thematic slice, this exhibition examines al-Moudarres’s works within the context of his creative engagements with two disparate yet interconnected pathways: Surrealism and Sufism. Illuminating the value that resides within the absent, hidden or the unseen, al-Moudarres’s works can be read as a unique mixture of these two movements, in which he is viewed as a transcultural artist working within the context of global Surrealism, a truly international intellectual movement, which transcended the Occidental and Oriental worlds. 

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Mounira Al Solh: I strongly believe in our right to be frivolous



17 Oct 2018 – 16 Feb 2019

In the ongoing series I strongly believe in our right to be frivolous, Mounira Al Solh collects personal histories and experiences that emerge from the humanitarian and political crises in Syria and the Middle East. Born in Beirut to a Lebanese father and a Syrian mother, the artist began the series in 2012, shortly after the popular uprising in Syria that led to the ongoing Syrian war. These drawings and embroideries document private encounters and conversations between herself and those fleeing the war in Syria –forcibly displaced to Lebanon, Europe and the United States. The more than one hundred and fifty portraits displayed here, chronicle individual accounts of departure, arrival, trauma and uncertainty. They invite us to reflect on how migration and displacement, conflict and resistance, continue to shape our world today.

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Jassim Zaini: Representation and Abstraction

17 October 2018- 16 February 2019

Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art

This exhibition explores the artistic vision of Jassim Zaini (1943-2012 Doha), and examines two formal creative directions adopted by the artist between 1967 and 2012. The first section presents Zaini’s representational work, which he refers to as ‘advanced realism’, and interprets the changing reality in his local environment by highlighting social and familial relationships, cultural heritage, and the process of modernisation. His experiments in abstraction reveal a unique conceptual language in which Zaini captures ideas, objects and moments in time that intrigue him. Zaini’s work is a reflection of a significant era in the history of Qatar as his art captures the changes brought about by the exploitation of oil and the formation of a nation state from the 1950s to the 1970s. This period witnessed the rapid social, cultural and economic transformation of life, which Zaini attempts to document and respond to in images evoking inspirational details from the past and present of a developing country at emotional junctures.

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Revolution Generations

Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha

Atrium and Galleries 4, 5, and 6 

17 Oct 2018 – 16 Feb 2019

A ground-breaking exhibition curated by Mathaf Director Abdellah Karroum will present artists from the Arab World, Turkey, Iran and the diaspora. It investigates important moments of change in the history of modern and contemporary art; specifically the 1950s - 1960s Post-Independence era, followed by the period between 1970s - 1990s, and the Pre-revolutions of the 2000s when underground artistic movements developed in the region in response to the absence of freedom of expression.

Offering a historical narrative, Revolution Generations introduces artists as vital actors of social and cultural change in each of these periods of modern and contemporary history.

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Iraqi Artist Salim Matkhour

Artist Encounters

September 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 2018

A series of workshops delivered by established Iraqi artist, Salim Matkhour, who will introduce emerging talents, art teachers and university students to the techniques of watercolour painting.

The workshops are part of Mathaf’s popular Artist Encounters programme which invites artists to discuss art concepts and lead sessions that introduce participants to different creative processes. The programme is one of several educational initiatives presented by Mathaf to provide art enthusiasts with the tools to appreciate the complexities of the visual language.

The three-hour workshops will be held daily from September 23 through September 27 from 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm at the Manara learning space inside the museum. All workshops will be conducted in Arabic.

Based in Qatar since 1999, Salim Mathkour is an established figure in the country’s creative community and has previously exhibited in a number of locations in Qatar and beyond. Although his work appears to be inspired by daily life, the scenes are created as optimistic social and urban landscapes in opposition to the reality of conflicts that made him choose exile from his hometown of Baghdad. Salim has conducted several workshops in the past, where he introduced participants to his dream-like artistic style, evident by his distinguished techniques and use of texture and colors.

Maryam Al Attiya, Head of Art Programs Section at Mathaf, said:

Mathaf aspires to become a resource that introduces visitors to Arab artists and celebrates their contributions to the global art world. Thus, educational programmes are at the core of our community engagement initiatives. We are incredibly proud to host Salim Matkhour, an artist known for his unique style and poignant paintings.”
Since its launch, the Artist Encounter programme has been incredibly successful with emerging artists such as Fahad Al Maadheed and Eman Al Hidous leading sessions that reflect their working styles and creative processes.

The upcoming fall season is set to be a busy one for Mathaf. The museum has recently announced a series of ground-breaking exhibitions that shed light on key chapters of Arab modern art. Revolution Generation, curated by Abdellah Karroum, will introduce artists as vital actors of social change since the 50s when it opens on the 17th of October.

In parallel, Mathaf will also present an exhibition by Mounira Al Solh, I strongly believe in our right to be frivolous, curated by Hendrik Folkerts and Laura Barlow. In the series of drawings, the exhibition collects personal histories and experiences that emerge from the humanitarian and political crises in Syria and the Middle East.

Two FOCUS exhibitions will also be on view at the same time, continuing the in-depth display series dedicated to historical artists from the museum’s Collection. Fateh al-Moudarres: Colour, Extensity and Sense, guest curated by Sara Raza and Jassim Zaini: Representation and Abstraction, curated by Fatma Mostafawi will introduce visitors to the two artists’ creative vision and the contexts that shaped their works.

To register in Artist Encounters, please follow the following link:

Art Lessons at Mathaf with Ismael Azzam

Join artist Ismael Azzam for a new season of Art Lessons at Mathaf and learn techniques in portraiture drawing using pencil and charcoal and paint.

Every Sunday and Wednesday


Manara – Education Space at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art

  • Lessons are offered to people with basic to intermediate sketching and drawing skills
  • Each participant must bring their own sketchbook
  • Participants may also be asked to sit in as a model to have their portraits done
  • Admission is free
  • Seats are limited
  • To register, click here

Are you interested to have your portrait done by artist Ismael Azzam?

We are looking for volunteers to sit in as a model for the Art Lessons at Mathaf led by artist Ismael Azzam. If you are available between 4pm-7pm every Sunday and Wednesday, and can commit to the time slot, please to confirm by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mathaf Collection, Summary, Part 2

10 September 2017 - 10 February 2019

MATHAF: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha

Jassim Zaini, Features from Qatar, 1973, oil on cardboard, 48.5 x 78 cm, Collection of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha

Mathaf houses the largest and most extensive permanent collection of modern and contemporary Arab art in the world featuring over 9,000 works. The collection covers artworks from the 19th century to the present day, reflecting a number of defining moments in Arab history and artistic creation in the region.

This year, Mathaf presents a complete rehang of its Permanent Collection galleries, titled “Summary, Part 2”. This is a display of the museum’s most iconic works, highlighting groundbreaking modern and contemporary artists from the Arab world. 

The new display includes historical artists such as Etel Adnan (Lebanon), Farid Belkahia (Morocco), Saloua Raouda Choucair (Lebanon), Faraj Daham (Qatar), Inji Efflatoun (Egypt), Abdulhalim Radwi (Saudi Arabia), Hassan Sharif (Dubai) and Hussein Zendaroudi (Iran), and a younger generation such as Manal AlDowayan (Saudi Arabia), Wael Shawky (Egypt) and Hayv Kahraman (Iraq-USA). With this Mathaf increases investment in education and audience engagement around the collection that includes making the collection accessible online.

Curated by Mathaf Director Abdellah Karroum and Laura Barlow (Mathaf Curator, Middle East)

Click here for more information.