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Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Google & QMA celebrate launch of ‘first major online exhibition of Islamic art’

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The Qatar Museums Authority hosted an event tonight to mark the launch of its two flagship collections as part of the Google Art Project.

An art digitization scheme, Google Art hosts hundreds of thousands of works from museums and galleries around the world. Earlier this month, Qatar joined the online platform with the inclusion of 250+ works from the Museum of Islamic Art & the Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art.

Museum of Islamic Art on Google Art

Ari Kesisoglu, Google’s Managing Director for the Middle East and North Africa, hailed the partnership with QMA, saying it represented “the first major online exhibition of Islamic Art.”

The works are displayed by Gigapixel (super high resolution) images. “You can almost… see the molecules,” said William Kanaan, Google’s New Business Development Manager for MENA.

Wassan al-Khudhairi, Mathaf’s Director, noted that “through the Google Art Project, we’ve been able to make available a meaningful selection of our work online.” She said the Mathaf has more than 6,000 objects in its collection, but without a permanent home, it is unable to physically display most of them.

Aisha Al Khater, Director of the Museum of Islamic Art, meanwhile, argued against the notion that the online collection would “diminish the importance of visiting the museum” and thanked Google for the publicity.

Sad you missed the event? Fret not, you can watch the evening’s presentation in full via the recorded stream:

What are your thoughts on the project?

Credit: Photo by Omar Chatriwala

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