Doha, Qatar, 20 March 2019: Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), attended the opening of two major exhibitions at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art – a member of QF – on Wednesday, 20 March, to celebrate Indian art.
Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums was also present. The two exhibitions launch a sizable new spring programme for Mathaf. The first exhibition, M. F. Husain: Horses of the Sun, is dedicated to the work of M. F. Husain — a renowned artist and contributor to modern Indian culture and the history of art in the 20th Century.
The second exhibition, Still More World, by Delhi-based Raqs Media Collective, which is organised as part of the Qatar India 2019 Year of Culture, presents 13 multi-object and video installations, two of which were created especially for the show in Doha.
Both exhibitions will run from 21 March to 31 July 2019.
M. F. Husain: Horses of the Sun, curated by the acclaimed Mumbai-based poet, art critic, and cultural theorist, Ranjit Hoskote, will feature more than 100 works by M. F. Husain, including paintings, drawings, textile works, and films, drawn from QF and Qatar Museums collections, as well as from private collections from the Gulf region and around the world.
Curator Ranjit Hoskote said: “M. F. Husain: Horses of the Sun is the first large-scale exhibition of his works and I am honoured to have been chosen to curate it. It will present this magisterial artist’s body of work across more than six decades and bring and examines three at the heart of Husain’s oeuvre. First: the idea of home, as a habitat remembered from childhood, shaped in the present, or to be discovered through exploration. Second: the human adventure of creativity across societies, periods, and disciplines. And third: a pluralist approach to the divine and cosmic aspects of being, articulated through the symbolism of the world’s religions and philosophies.”
M. F. Husain was a foundational figure in the history of Indian modernism, as a member of the vanguard formation known as the Progressive Artists Group. Every aspect of his life assumed mythic proportions, beginning with his birthdate. Long assumed to have been born in 1915, he was in fact born two years earlier. When he died at 98, his life had already traced an arc through one of the most cataclysmic yet most exhilarating centuries in human history.
He lived through two World Wars, the Cold War, Algeria and Vietnam, South Asia’s conflicts, and the West Asian wars, all of which inspired his works. His chosen media ranged from oil painting and watercolour, through lithography and serigraphy, to sculpture, architecture, and installation. He was also a film-maker, poet, and memoirist, writing in Urdu, Hindi, and English.
Still More World, curated by Mathaf Curator Laura Barlow, draws on the energy of Doha’s urban landscape of light, which symbolises a global city in continuous movement with its networks of people, and raw materials. The works in this exhibition re-examine human progress and natural resources, considering historical and contemporary movements of people and the way terrains change. The 13 installations, ranging from videos, to textiles and sculptures made between 2011 and 2019, are being presented in three galleries at Mathaf and across Doha, and include two new productions, Dohas for Doha and To People, developed especially for the exhibition.
Playing with language, energy, and digital technologies, Dohas for Doha pieces are displayed at Mathaf and on Burj Doha, using the lights and architecture of this iconic building to mark the conversation between Raqs and the city. The dense hanging of carpets, To People, shows ’people’ as pixelated crowds, referencing the diversity of Doha’s inhabitants and expanded digital networks. Other works in the exhibition explore the connections between living organisms, the natural world, geological time, and the cosmos.
“Raqs Media Collective are leading contemporary artists working at an international level, whose work challenges understandings of the world in playful and poetic ways,” said Mathaf’s Curator Laura Barlow.
“Unravelling structures of economies, time, and language, their work examines the shifting state of contemporary life and boundaries of visibility. This exploration of transformation is embedded in the process and subject of their work, and in the collective’s name – ‘raqs’ – a term for movement and whirling, in Urdu/Hindustani, Arabic, and Persian. We are delighted to present this solo exhibition of their work at part of the Qatar India 2019 Year of Culture that includes two exciting new commissions that speak to the context of Doha beyond the museum.”
In conjunction with the exhibition, the artists will present a talk titled ‘Tomorrows Ripen Today’, a phrase taken from one of the works especially produced for this exhibition, which foregrounds the conceptual framing of the exhibition and presents the way in which Raqs works with time. The talk will present Raqs’ way of thinking about how cities like Doha and Delhi, with layered pasts and polyglot futures, anticipate tomorrow and trace the routes straddling stories, histories, trade routes, and ocean currents that connect people between South Asia and the Gulf region.
Raqs Media Collective was founded in 1992 by Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula, and Shuddhabrata Sengupta. Unravelling structures of economies, time, and language, their work examines the shifting state of contemporary life and boundaries of visibility. Their practice spans the making of multi-medium installations, films, events, and publications, in addition to collaborations across architecture, literature, science, and theatre, broadening understanding of the world around us.
Starting from 28 March, admission to NMoQ, MIA and Mathaf will be charged at the entrance. General admission will be QAR 50 for adults; QAR 25 for students and free for children under 16, Culture Pass Plus and Culture Pass Family Members, and visitors with disabilities. Tickets will be free of charge for residents of the State of Qatar, with a valid Qatar ID. General admission tickets include exhibitions within the museum and are valid for three consecutive days from the date of first admission. Museum Pass is QAR 100 and permits admission to all museums and venues, valid for three consecutive days from the date of first admission. For full terms and conditions, visit: https://www.qm.org.qa/en/ticketing-terms-conditions
MATHAF ARAB MUSEUM OF MODERN ART
Education City, Doha, Qatar
21 March to 31 July 2019
Open daily 9am-7pm, except Friday, when opening times are 1.30 pm–7pm.
M. F. Husain: Horses of the Sun
Curator: Ranjit Hoskote
Assistant Curator: Wadha Al-Aqeedi
Raqs Media Collective: Still More World
Curator: Laura Barlow
Assistant curator: Lina Ramadan
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