Sheikha Mayassa hopes to turn Qatar into a top destination for culture

Chairperson of Qatar Museums Her Excellency Sheikha al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani is hoping to turn Qatar into a world class destination for culture. In an exclusive interview to CNN Style in its launch episode on CNN International, Sheikha Mayassa said,”I think for as long as I remember, art has always been part of culture, it’s always been part of our identity, whether it’s preserving heritage, archaeology, excavations, collecting all sorts of art.”

In recent years, Sheikha Mayassa has made bold moves through her work at Qatar Museums to bring some of the world’s greatest contemporary artists to Qatar ” Damien Hirst and Takashi Murakami among them. Now, she’s turning the spotlight on China ” enlisting the country’s most explosive artist Cai Guo-Qiang to curate an exhibition of 15 contemporary Chinese artists at QM Gallery Al Riwaq.

On how she views her position as chairperson of Qatar Museums, she said,”I like to see myself as a facilitator, I’m not an expert, I’m not an art historian, I didn’t study art history. But I like the diversity of it, I like the collaborative effort between the curator, the artist, us, the government, bringing in new ideas and developing you know, your community and the urban space, the public domain is very interesting for me.”

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“If you look at contemporary art today, I don’t think artists necessarily see themselves belonging to a country or a nationality… it’s very global, and that’s what we’re trying to do with our young aspiring artists with our new programme…the Artist in Residence in the Fire Station, we’re trying to bring the best of the best from around the world…all the most influential people are artists as they say. So, we have invested a lot in education and culture, it was the second thing we invested highly in,” Sheikha Mayassa said.