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Sunday, May 9, 2021

Sheikha Al Mayassa named one of art world’s top 100 women

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Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al Thani

Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al Thani, chairperson of Qatar Museums (QM) and sister of the Emir, has been named one of the world’s 100 Most Powerful Women in Art by a leading international art industry website.

Artnet News featured Sheikha Al Mayassa in the first installment of its female global power players in the art world this week, as part of a year-long celebration of women in the field.

The list, which is arranged alphabetically rather than as a ranking, also includes another leading Gulf woman in the sector – Sheikha Hoor Al-Qasimi, President of Sharjah Art Foundation.

Earlier this year, the website, which is a major reference tool used by those in the international art market, ranked Sheikha Al Mayassa as one of 25 Art World Women at the Top. At the time, the site said:

“By extending Qatar’s art collection and inviting international art players to Doha, she embodies Qatar’s cultural policy.”

Top titles

This ranking is the latest in a long line of accolades bestowed on Sheikha Al Mayassa, recognizing her leadership of QM and position in the global art world.

Earlier this year, she was named by Time magazine as one of the world’s 100 most influential people and in 2012 the Economist dubbed her the art world’s most powerful woman.

During her 2012 debut on Forbes’ list of global power women, she was dubbed the “undisputed Queen of the art world,” and she regularly features in industry publications’ rankings of influential international players in the scene.

Since assuming the role of Chairperson of QM (formerly Qatar Museums Authority) in 2006, Sheikha Al Mayassa has rapidly developed and consolidated her position as one of the world’s biggest and most influential art buyers.

She has made no secret of her aim to make Qatar a regional hub for contemporary and modern art.

In a TED talk in 2010, she said:

“We are revising ourselves through our cultural institutions and cultural development. Art becomes a very important part of our national identity.”

Experts estimate her acquisition budget to be in the region of $1 billion a year, which she uses to buy up some of the world’s key pieces of contemporary art.

This includes apparently setting a world record by spending $250 million on Cezanne’s Card Players in 2011 – then, the highest-ever known price for a painting, and a reported $310m for 11 Rothkos, although this purchase remains unconfirmed.

Art agenda

QM has been spearheading a drive to bring a large volume of high-profile international art to Qatar in the last few years, both for the royal family’s private collection and for public display through the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) and Mathaf (Arab Museum of Modern Art), as well as a number of public art installations.

coupdetete

However, at times the exhibitions have proved controversial. Last October for example, some nationals expressed dismay at Adel Abdessemed‘s “Coup de Tête” – a now-infamous 5-meter statute of two fighting footballers that was erected on the Corniche.

Though it was meant to be a permanent installation, the statue was quickly removed after critics said it was “unsportsmanlike” and offensive to religious sensibilities.

At the time, QM said it would be transferred to Mathaf, although it has yet to be publicly displayed there.

edward_dolman

Meanwhile, QM has been undergoing organizational change over the last few years.

Earlier this year, its acting CEO and Director Edward Dolman, who was brought in by Sheikha Al Mayassa in 2011, quit amid disquiet among the national community about how QM spends its budget and the number of expat staff working there.

Although Sheikha Al Mayassa supported Dolman in a memo sent to all staff, in April of this year Dolman announced that he would not be renewing his contract with QM and left to pursue other projects.

Following claims of “corruption and nepotism” in the Arab media, QM said it would transform from a government organization into a “private entity for public good,” but this has yet to happen.

Thoughts?

16 COMMENTS

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fullmoon07
fullmoon07
6 years ago

The Sharjah Art Foundation is a real devoted art foundation, with Sheikha Hoor Al-Qasimi as President, but with other members of the same family who are art specialists and intellectuals. Not even to compare! They really know what they are doing and constantly on the chase of great art, including Arab art.
The most discussed piece of “art” here in Qatar has been the “Coup de Tête”.
I wish we could speak about other arts.

Let’s see more photo, painting and sculpture exhibitions. I really hope Doha turns into the hub of Art.

brorick
brorick
6 years ago
Reply to  fullmoon07

it is kind of already, but it imports some of the dullest art collections around, I really dont see what richard serra is all about. If i wanted to see steel structure just standing there, I would just go take a look around Dubai Tower

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
6 years ago
Reply to  brorick

right! That means that choices are not really incredible. Instead the Sharjah Art Foundation has people behind who know what they do!!!

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago

I give the QM one year before it is either shut down or completely overhauled to make it useful and meaningful.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago

The statue didn’t depict “2 fighting footballers”! It depicted one of, if not THE, most idiotic and unsportsmanlike moments in WC history. And Qatar, in their infinite wisdom, decided to glorify it. Maybe because he was such a compliant paid mercenary for their WC bid.

zorro
zorro
6 years ago

The ambitious project that QM has embarked on is worthy of praise and respect. It is a rare occurrence in the region that museums are built and cultural programs are created for the benefit of all visitors.
Most exhibitions are free or inexpensive, the buildings and art exposed are at global standards and there is a choice. Choice of museum (currently 2 with a 3rd being built), choice of medium (cinema, antiques, modern).

How it is being done may not be to the liking of some but the very fact that it exists and delivers some beautiful exhibitions deserves a lot credit.
The content of the exhibitions may also not be to the liking of some. The beauty of this project is that it strives to showcase art, and this is a noble cause. Let people express their opinions and keep showing the art.

AMM
AMM
6 years ago

I personally don’t like art taste and choices that has been made recently in Qatar, from Damien Hirst, Richard Serra to irrelevant teddy bear…you can see pattern in those choices and I’m not sure if they are right for the society in Qatar, especially Qatari nationals, this art is not for people that don’t know art. They should be making more classical and culturaly relevant choices to educate society first rather than shocking it. Plus although I’m not Muslim I would also question Cezanne card players, as isn’t gambling harm?!?!

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago
Reply to  AMM

And the card players are drinking wine at the table too!

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  AMM

Most Qataris were not shocked by the gambling but by the 1 billion Riyals paid for it.

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Waste of money, as with most projects here unfortunately…

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  AMM

Yeah I thought that an interesting choice. Drinking and card playing. lol

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago

If only there was actual ‘public art’ here in Doha. The few attempts so far have been dismal failures.

There was an attempt to brighten up the Salwa Road underpasses, but whichever genius chose the location and the paint did a smashing job… the ‘art’ has already been ruined by leaking water and is painted in such a glossy finish that you can’t even see the painting as you drive past. Instead of looking like art it just looks like amateur hour at a public high school. Qatar Museums should have hired a professional to oversee the work.

Doha_Qatar1
Doha_Qatar1
6 years ago

Does anyone from QMA want to create a burner email account and mention what’s really going on internally?

Desert Witch
Desert Witch
6 years ago

Well I’m actually hoping that the rumour is true and she has bought 11 Rothko paintings.

Please please let it be true.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Very easy to be in the top 100 women with all that government money to spend. Give me the same money and I’ll be in the top 100 as well, not really much of an achievement.

BBCA
BBCA
6 years ago

She is kind of Pretty!

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