The British Library, the Royal Academy of Arts, Sadler’s Wells, Shakespeare’s Globe, Tate and the V&A are among the leading British cultural and educational organisations participating in a major programme of cultural events in Qatar and across the UK announced today, Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture.
Celebrating the long-standing relationship between the two countries, Qatar UK 2013 aims to forge new and support existing partnerships in education, sport, creative industries, and science, while promoting an awareness and appreciation of each country’s culture, achievements, and heritage.
The programme has been developed in a partnership between Qatar Museums Authority, Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, the British Council and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Participating Qatari organisations include the Museum of Islamic Art Doha, the Arab Museum of Modern Art Doha - MATHAF, the Doha Film Institute and the Cultural Village Foundation, Katara.
The curtain will be raised in Doha on 6 December 2012, with the opening at the Cultural Village Foundation, Katara of Encounter: The Royal Academy in the Middle East, an exhibition featuring 100 works by 25 Royal Academicians shown alongside 25 prominent artists from across the Middle East, selected by Royal Academicians, Paul Huxley, Richard Wilson, Michael Craig-Martin and Lisa Milroy with Kathy Battista, Sa’id Costa, Mary Dinaburg and Howard Rutkowski.
Among the events in the programme for 2013 announced today are: the world premiere of Globe Education’s Romeo and Juliet in February before its booked out run at Shakespeare’s Globe in London and a programme of cutting edge works by Sadler’s Wells Associate Artists including Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Russell Maliphant and Wayne McGregor in May at Katara Village Foundation in Doha; the UK’s first major exhibition of Sudanese artist Ibrahim El-Salahi, opening at Tate Modern in July; the Pearls Exhibition opening at the V&A in September 2013, which explores the history of pearls from the early Roman empire to the present day in a spectacular display of over 150 treasures from the Qatar Museums Authority collection, shown in the UK for the first time; an exhibition of the work of Damien Hirst curated by Francesco Bonami at Al Riwaq Exhibition Hall in Doha opening in October 2013, and a series of curatorial tours, residencies and exchanges between the two countries through a programme organised by the British Council.
The Festival also celebrates an ambitious partnership between the British Library and Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development to transform understanding of Middle Eastern history – a three year programme which will digitise half a million pages of archive material in co-operation with Qatar Foundation’s new Qatar National Library, due to open in 2014, and the opening of UCL Qatar, the first British university in Qatar, offering postgraduate degree programmes in the areas of archaeology, conservation, cultural heritage and museum studies. Further programming will be announced in the New Year, including events across the UK.
Commenting on the importance of the Qatar UK 2013 programme, HE Sheikha Mayassa Bint Hamad Al Thani, Chair of Qatar Museums Authority, said: “We are proud of the success achieved with our international cultural exchanges, which began with Qatar Japan in 2012. We hope next year will give us the opportunity to further promote cultural dialogue and programmes that build bridges between nations. We are looking forward to a year of valuable cooperation and exchange, which will celebrate our cultures and friendship.”
Graham Sheffield, Director Arts, British Council, said: “Qatar is a dynamic supporter of arts and culture, and I am delighted that the British Council is a partner in this exciting programme alongside the UK cultural sector and key Qatar institutions. Sharing innovative ideas and practices from both countries, building new audiences for the arts, and developing creative talent across society are at the heart of Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture.”