The artworks inside The Ned Doha are impressive; not just in numbers but also for the philosophy and deliberation behind each of them. The Ned Doha’s artwork was commissioned to Mathqag, a source of art and culture from West Asia and North Africa (WANA). Mathqaf is a research-based platform and a curatorial collective, that publishes, curates, and champions art. The force behind the institution is art historians-cum-curators Wadha Al-Aqeedi and Elina Sairanen, two passionate women who come together with a strong intent of championing art from the region.
SCALE conducted a Zoom interview with the two curators. We ask them about the theme followed to find out how the architecture of the Ned has created a seamless setting for art of such significance. When you have a building steeped in history (The Ned Doha is set in the Ministry of Interiors building which was refurbished by the current architects), it is safe to assume that any embellishments or art will take off from these striking settings.
“Our task was to create a permanent collection of contemporary art from Qatar and the region. We did not go with any thematic representation for the artwork because this in itself is a unique endeavour. There is no such project of this calibre; there is no permanent collection of this large capacity anywhere in the country. So, our task was to put the focus on the artwork and the artist,” says Elina Sairanen, who is a Ph.D. candidate in museology at the University of Leicester and focuses on the emergence of pan-Arab art collections and institutions.
Wadha Al Aqeedi who is familiar with Doha and its art scene having worked at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha as an Assistant Curator for over four years says, “SoHo House, the sister concern of The Ned develops projects around the world, where they repurpose significant buildings with a rich history into The Club. With every interior fitting, they also curate the art in response to the building itself, to the community, the art scene of the location, etc. Soho House was the entity that entrusted us with this curation since they wanted The Ned Doha artworks to be true to its history.”
The artwork features more than 350 works in a diverse array of media including textile, painting, and sculpture, and covers a wide range of themes including identity, history, culture, globalisation, and ecology. Many of the artists drew inspiration from the modernist building and its important location.
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