Posted on April 08, 2016

In the launch episode of ‘CNN Style’ on CNN International, Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, sister of the Emir of Qatar and Chairperson of Qatar Museums, speaks exclusively in her first major international TV interview in almost two years.

In recent years, Her Excellency has made bold moves through her work at Qatar Museums to bring some of the world's greatest contemporary artists to Qatar - Damien Hirst and Takashi Murakami among them. Now, she's turning the spotlight to China - enlisting the country's most explosive artist Cai Guo-Qiang to curate an exhibition of 15 contemporary Chinese artists at QM Gallery Al Riwaq.

INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS:

ON THE ROLE OF ART IN CULTURE:

“I think for as long as I remember, art has always been part of culture, it's always been part of our identity, whether it's preserving heritage, archaeology, excavations, collecting all sorts of art.”

ON HOW SHE VIEWS HER POSITION AS CHAIRPERSON OF QATAR MUSEUMS:

“I like to see myself as a facilitator, I'm not an expert, I'm not an art historian, I didn't study art history. But I like the diversity of it, I like the collaborative effort between the curator, the artist, us, the government, bringing in new ideas and developing you know, your community and the urban space, the public domain is very interesting for me.”

ON HER INITIATIVE TO TRANSFORM A DISUSED FIRE STATION INTO STUDIO SPACES, WITH PROGRAMMES TO NURTURE THE TALENT OF YOUNG QATARI ARTISTS AND THOSE RESIDENT IN QATAR

“If you look at contemporary art today, I don't think artists necessarily see themselves belonging to a country or a nationality… it's very global, it's very international, and that's what we're trying to do with our young aspiring artists with our new programme…the Artist in Residence in the Fire Station, we're trying to bring the best of the best from around the world…all the most influential people are artists as they say. So, we have invested a lot in education and culture, it was the second thing we invested highly in.”

ON SHOWCASING SOME OF THE WORLD'S LEADING CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS AT QM GALLERY AL RIWAQ, INCLUDING TAKASHI MURAKAMI AND DAMIEN HIRST:

“You know, most contemporary art is provocative and a lot of people say for good art to be art, it should be provocative. When we invited artists such as Murakami or Damien Hirst as such, we're very clear with the artist, you're free to decide on your exhibit but you're not free to be insulting to our cultural traditions.”

ON INVITING CHINESE ARTIST CAI GUO-QIANG TO EXHIBIT IN DOHA IN 2011:

“Cai is a very generous artist and he came here for his Saraab exhibition in 2011. He was here for about two and a half months, working with the students. He became so famous around the city, everybody would call him by his first name.”

 

source: CNN Style

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