Weave through the roads of Doha to understand how the city has purposefully worked towards garnering a spot on the global cultural map with its art scene.
By Ameesha Raizada
Doha’s aim is clear: to make the world wake up to the city’s potential. And to, therefore, help its own people realise their abilities. The city’s concerted efforts towards modernisation and cultural appreciation have thus found magnificent citadels of art worth visiting. So why don’t you discover art in Doha?
The National Museum of Qatar
A notch in the city’s architectural belt, the National Museum is a beautiful showcase of Doha as a true melting pot of cultures, at least visually. Designed and constructed by Jean Nouvel—who brings a French flair to the cityscape—the museum, thus, serves a neat self-serving purpose. Its design is meant to signify the desert rose and, inside, it traces the city’s embrace of modernity over the years. It will be one of the hosts of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The museum, itself, is one such example, with its technology-defying disks and dynamic presence. Full of vignettes that shine a spotlight on Qatar’s identity, the museum also has videos that you can’t see anywhere else. They have been custom-produced for just these walls.
Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art
This is a museum that prides itself on showcasing the art of the region. While also fostering the artistic spirit in everyone. It is home to collections that showcase the versatility of contemporary art in the Middle East. The current exhibition, therefore, actually traces the pioneering figures who have helped shape an appreciation of the same. If you want to stay longer and act on the inspiration all around you—there are over 9,000 breathtaking pieces of artwork. So take your pick. The museum holds regular art classes with renowned teachers who will help you hone your skills. Or, you could use the canvas offered to simply break free and express yourself. It is, therefore, your choice.
Katara Cultural Village
A place where ‘the grace of the past meets the splendour of the future’—the Katara Cultural Village gives Doha the chance to flex its cultural stronghold. All by merging traditions and fostering unity through art, festivals and performances. Exhibitions are, therefore, held all year round, and regular workshops will help you come back with a new skill or two.
While the new buildings are marvels of modernity, there is an old-world charm awaiting you as well. Situated on an ancient market site, the Souq Waqif maintains that same ethos. Traders, thus, flow in and eager customers saunter through the serpentine lanes, hustling for a good deal. Along with getting an idea of how the bustling markets of yore functioned and looked, the open market is where you can get the best spices, artefacts, handicrafts and traditional food.
Qatar National Library
When you enter the library, you’ll find yourself at the centre of every story—literally. Designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, the building opened a fresh chapter in Doha’s cultural narrative. Built to accommodate over a million books, everything about this library pushes you to find something new. The open floor plan lets you socialise and read, and the terraced bookshelves let you lose yourself in whatever genre you desire.