With reporting from Peter Kovessy
With the Katara Art Center facing an uncertain future and preparing to close its doors by the end of the month, its members gathered this week for what may be its final community event.
Several dozen supporters of the KAC turned up for the Sunday meeting, sharing their thoughts on the imminent closure of the Katara venue.
“Local artists must have a place to vent. They have to have an outlet, and there aren’t many places like that in Doha,” said political cartoonist Khalid Albaih.
KAC managers recently learned that an unnamed investor had withdrawn their funding and that the three-year-old organization would have to vacate its space within the Katara Cultural Village.
The arts center was founded in 2011 and focused on promoting young and emerging Qatar-based artists and designers.
This mandate contrasts with many of Qatar’s other art institutions, which have spent large sums of money in recent years courting exhibitions by established international artists such as Damien Hirst, as well as buying famous pieces of art such as Cézanne’s The Card Players.
“There is a real misunderstanding of the value of independent centres and independent spaces,” Mayssa Fattouh, KAC’s artistic director and curator, told Doha News in a video interview.
“We focus on locally based artists, creators and designers. We don’t have the capacity or the interest to tap into the larger international names. Our interest, our focus and our direction is to nurture the local communities and take them out, rather than bring in from outside.”