World’s largest collection of modern and contemporary Arab art from Qatar Museums on show in Madrid for the first time
A major exhibition ‘Looking at the World Around You: Contemporary Works from Qatar Museums’ will be on show for the first time at the Santander Art Gallery in Financial City, Boadilla del Monte, Madrid, from 9 February to 19 June 2016.
The exhibition has been organised by Fundación Banco Santander, in partnership with Qatar Museums and under the leadership of its Chairperson, Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. Mansoor bin Ebrahim Al Mahmoud, CEO of Qatar Museums; Abdellah Karroum, curator of the exhibition and director of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art and Rodrigo Echenique, chairman of Santander Spain were in attendance at the opening of the show.
The majority of the works in Looking at the World Around You: Contemporary Works from Qatar Museums have been loaned by Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, although there are also a number of pieces from other Qatar Museums collections. This selection, more than 160 works in total, represents the history of contemporary Arab art as seen through the eyes of 34 artists, most of whom are natives of Arab nations like Qatar, Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, Algeria, Iraq and Kuwait, including Etel Adnan, Shirin Neshat, Mona Hatoum, Wael Shawky and Yousef Ahmad, all of whom have successfully showcased their works of art in Qatar. The exhibition also includes works by foreign-born creators whose art is related to the Arab world, such as Yan Pen Ming and Cai Guo-Qiang from China and the Belgian master René Magritte.
Fundación Banco Santander remains committed to its exhibition policy of bringing major international collections of contemporary art to the Santander Art Gallery. On this occasion, visitors to the gallery will have the opportunity to contemplate, for the first time outside Qatar, an ample selection of works from the Qatar Museums collections.
How we look at the world around us is the central idea that guided the curator, Abdellah Karroum, in the process of choosing and interrelating the portraits, photographs, sculptures, installations and video installations that comprise this show. Looking at the World Around You: Contemporary Works from Qatar Museums is an open window onto diverse geographical regions and myriad socio-political realities, from North Africa to Southeast Asia. Relevant themes such as historical narrative, memory and identity are addressed in works brimming with subtlety, beauty and strength that portray the past and present of the artists who imagined and breathed life into them.
The exhibition explores the connection between art and history through multiple works, from René Magritte’s vision of the Orient in Shéhérazade to the reflections of today’s most dynamic, engaged Arab artists—Mona Hatoum, Amal Kenawy, Manal AlDowayan and others—on the problems and changes affecting the Arab world.