In Conversation with Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art

2024-07-13 19:55:47

Zeina Arida, Kamini Sawhney

In Conversation with Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art


January 10, 2024    
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

This episode of MAP’s Director’s Cut series features Zeina Arida, Director of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art.

Founded in 2010, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art was established by Qatar Foundation (QF), under the leadership of Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser. The museum’s collection comprises more than 9,000 pieces of modern and contemporary art by Arab artists and is the largest specialised collection of its kind in the world. Serving as a space for both art production and display, it has become a space for facilitating dialogue and scholarship about modern and contemporary art with artists in residency in Doha.

An expert in the arts and culture and heritage sectors in the Arab world, with a focus on photography, archives and modern and contemporary art from the region, Arida joined as the Director of the museum in 2021. She previously served as the Director of the Sursock Museum, and was in charge of reopening the museum after a ten-year renovation and expansion project. She was responsible for making it a prominent cultural landmark, leading several special projects and pivotal and played a pivotal role in the reconstruction and restoration of the artworks in the museum after the unfortunate Beirut explosion in 2020.  

The Director’s Cut series, anchored by MAP’s Director, Kamini Sawhney, offers a glimpse into how the institution of the museum is being reimagined and reinvented today. It presents a unique opportunity to hear from reputed practitioners in museums around the world, as they reflect on their institutional experiences, behind-the-scenes challenges, unique initiatives, and more.

Zeina Arida

Director of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art

Zeina Arida is the director of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art. A cultural activist in the Arab world, addressing photography, archives, and modern and contemporary art, Arida was the director of the Sursock Museum from 2014 to 2021. In charge of reopening the museum after a ten-year renovation and expansion project, she designed the new exhibitions and public programs, initiating local and international partnerships, turning the museum into a local and international landmark. Before that, from 1997 to 2014, she was the director of the Arab Image Foundation (AIF).

Arida provides expertise to international private and public institutions as well as consultation to arts and culture organisations, artists, and projects. She is currently a member of the Advisory Board of Darat al Funun, Amman, a member of the Arab Image Foundation, Beirut, and a member of the Scientific Committee of the Art Mill Museum in Doha. She is a member of ICOM and a board member of CIMAM. She was made “Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres” by the French Government in 2019.

Kamini Sawnhey

Director of Museum of Art & Photography, Bengaluru

As the Museum of Art & Photography’s (MAP) first Director, Kamini Sawhney has brought together a young, inspired team that is focused on creating a new museum experience for audiences in India. In leading this founding team, Sawhney has helped shape a vision for MAP that seeks to inspire people to interact with art in ways that encourage humanity, empathy and a deeper understanding of the world we live in. She has been a vocal ambassador for MAP presenting the institution’s plans and aspirations at various fora including the India Art Fair, at workshops at the CSMVS, Mumbai (Museums and the City), the Bangalore Literary Festival and the Bangalore International Centre.

In her earlier role, Kamini was the head of the Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation – one of the premier private collections of Modern Indian Art, at the CSMVS, Mumbai, formerly known as the Prince of Wales Museum. Bringing institutions together in collaborative projects has been one of her special skills enabling audiences in India the opportunity to enjoy several exhibitions in collaboration with Tate, London, Foam, Amsterdam, the Duke University, Durham, the  KNMA, New Delhi and more. Sawhney was selected as one of the first candidates for the  Brooks fellowship at Tate Modern, London in 2014 in collaboration with the Delfina Foundation. In a previous avatar as journalist and television anchor, Kamini was the Bureau Chief of NDTV, Mumbai one of India’s leading news channels where she reported on her whole range of events both political and cultural.

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