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Qatar

summer ISSUE > 2013


Rolls-Royce Rolls-Royce still Launches the latest golden in Qatar in after-sales care

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ontinuing in its tradition as the Global Aftersales Dealer of the Year, Rolls-Royce Doha has initiated a new concept which provides the ultimate in discretion and commitment to the Rolls-Royce owner. Now, new cars can be delivered incognito straight to your door via the Rolls-Royce Recovery Truck, and as the name suggests, the truck is also at hand should your car ever need servicing either on or off the road.

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olls-Royce Doha has announced a 14 percent sales growth for the first quarter of 2013, proof that the Qatari market for ultra-luxury motors is steadfast and that buyers appreciate the value of craftsmanship and customer support that comes with owning a car from the pinnacle of automotive brands. The Rolls-Royce Wraith, the most potent and technologically advanced model ever produced in the history of the company, will land in Qatar later this year.


Mathaf’s summer New Director cultural for Mathaf refreshment

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ver the hot summer months Mathaf continues to provide yet more cultural refreshment with the extension of a current exhibition and launch of a second. Forever Now: Five Anecdotes from the Permanent Collection has been extended until October 6 in the first floor galleries, from where it offers a new understanding of five diverse modern Arab artists: Fahrelnissa Zeid, Jewad Selim, Saliba Al-Doueihy, Salim Al-Dabbagh and Ahmed Cherkaoui. The extended show also features additional works by Ahmed Cherkaoui. Meanwhile, Selections from the Collection, which opened on June 1, covers three galleries on the ground floor of the museum with works drawn from the permanent collection and runs until August 31. Admission is free of charge. For more information, visit www. mathaf.org.qa.

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n June 2013, independent artistic director Abdellah Karroum took over as Director of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, the arts institution led by the Qatar Museums Authority (QMA). The 43-year-old Moroccan curator earned his stripes associate-curating various international biennials such as Dakar in 2006 and Gwangju in 2008. More recently Karroum made waves curating the Benin 2012 biennial. His new role entails providing creative and managerial leadership to the three-year-old artistic establishment. “My ambition is to make Mathaf a place of learning for our team and the public,” Karroum explained. Edward Dolman, QMA Executive Director and Acting CEO of the organisation added, “We are looking forward to working closely with Abdellah in further developing the Museum and establishing Mathaf as a vibrant centre for the promotion and understanding of Contemporary Art in a local and international context.”


© Albion Art

Brooch, natural brown pearls set in platinum and diamonds, France, 1900

British fashion label Temperley London opens in Doha

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n May this year Salam Stores in Doha opened the first Temperley London boutique in the Middle East. The opening at the prestigious The Gate Mall was laced with the elegance of an ‘English Tea Party’ complete with games of croquet. Fashion designer Alice Temperley MBE was there in person to welcome her brand to the region and noted that the “Middle East has always been very supportive of what we do”.

Pearls are the world’s best friend

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s part of the Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture, a season of events showcasing the cultural relations between Qatar and the UK, the Victoria and Albert Musuem (V & A) in London is set to host an exhibition about pearls starting September 21. From the pearl-drop earring worn by King Charles II at his execution to a silverand-pearl necklace designed by Sam Tho Duong, the show charts the history of the human obsession with the pearl, and the supremacy of Gulf pearls, both cultivated and natural. 200 pieces will be displayed which have been borrowed from the Qatar Museums Authority, Tate Britain, British Museum, Royal Collection and of course the V & A itself.


Shoe Obsession LE SILLA

CASADEI

EMILIO PUCCI

GIANVITO ROSSI

ETRO

VICINI

WALTER STEIGER

PIERRE HARDY

ROBERTO CAVALLI

SEBASTIAN


Katharine Pooley is here words: : Lucy Knight


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his summer has seen the arrival of some exquisitely English tastes on Doha’s shores. Katharine Pooley, an interior design showroom and service, is now available for you to indulge your home furnishing desires. Located at the Gate Mall, in the vibrant West Bay, the store is Pooley’s first franchise.“My business partner Nasser Al Ansari approached me in London,”

she told us. “Doha is a very expanding and exciting country at present - I see it as a perfect opportunity as the first international franchise.” Opening her first store in London’s Walton Street in 2004, Pooley was actually a late bloomer when it came to entering into this world she now dominates. She actually started out in banking. “My experience of working in banking really helped me. Being detailed, administrative and highly


organised are all traits of a good interior designer. It is not just about the creative side,” she says. With an innate love of adventure and travel, Pooley has visited more than 250 countries and can more often than not be found scaling some lofty peak. The experience of so many different cultures has led Pooley to have a unique approach to capturing the essential diversity of classical contemporary living without sacrificing comfort, coherence or style. She is, of course, not alone, heading a 20-strong team of talented individuals

all working to deliver a seamless and exacting service. “Working with the clients to discover their dream homes is the best part,” she shares. In 2012 Pooley was awarded Best Interior Designer by the Society of British Interior Design, and from commercial to residential projects, she has a wide range of experience. Working with Ansari, head of development company Octagon International, Qatar can finally experience the sophistication of Pooley’s taste.


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The East Goes West

words: Dan Bratman

The term “Islamic art” is extraordinarily broad. Its spectacular contents would have to include art from a span of time and land almost impossible to see in a lifetime. But now, all you may need is an hour and a pair of comfortable shoes.

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Writing box, late 16th–early 17th century.

he Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new exhibit of Islamic Art, on display from April 1 to August 4, has put together the world’s most ambitious and complete collection of art from Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, South Asia and around the world. To face such an expansive exhibit one may consider enlisting the help of trained professionals. So, the Met offers a one hour guided tour of the exhibit. On a rainy New York City afternoon, I climbed the iconic steps of the Met on Fifth Ave between 80th and 84th St. into the vaulted marble expanse of the lobby. From the information desk I was guided to the meeting place of the tour and

found Rose, our Irishbrogued tour guide. Rose, with equal parts charm, enthusiasm and knowledge, guided us to the entrance of the exhibit. Our small group of curious patrons gathered around. We were surrounded by some of the most extraordinary examples of art from this part of the world, examples of the first blushes of art from the cradle of civilisation. Delicate plates and urns showed the motifs that typify Islamic art: complex geometric designs, floral and leaf patterns, and calligraphy. Perhaps it is because the faith of Islam precludes images of people and animals, that art associated with Islam is so unique. This limitation created an abstract visual language vastly predating abstract expressionism, yet uses shapes to evoke emotion. Geometric patterns, infinitely delicate silver laid into brass, and ornate painted glass spoke of a


Child's coat, late 19th century India, Punjab or Kashmir, Amritsar Wool; double interlocking twill tapestry weave.

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"Sudaba's Second Accusation Against Siyavush is Judged", Folio from the Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Shah Tahmasp Abu'l Qasim Firdausi (935–1020).

deeply spiritual aesthetic. The calligraphy of the Qur’an becomes an art beyond the meaning of the words so that even without understanding Arabic, one stands in awe before the beauty of its art. Each of these amazing relics tells a story and our guide, Rose, brings them to life with glimpses into the life and times of their makers and the world they lived in.

By the time we came to the exquisite and famous rugs of the exhibit, I had lost all track of time and when Rose thanked us and we said our goodbyes, I was sorry it was over. But a detailed and deep appreciation of the art of Islam will always be remembered now with a slight Irish twist.


Ismail Azzam: Art’s human touch

100 x 130 cm, OIL ON CANVAS

words: Rich Thornton

Ismail Azzam is a high profile Iraqi portrait painter and curator whose relocation to Qatar has aided his career and artistic development. Fresh from teaching drawing classes at the Virginia Commonwealth University Qatar, he speaks to Selections about his relationship to portraiture, the value of paint over photography, and how curating exhibitions inspires his own art. What is it about portraiture that you find so everlastingly appealing? The human being in his physical appearance and knowledge is what attracts me to draw him. I insist on the mental aspect of the person and try to highlight it on the painting’s surface in order for the

viewer to be able to read and interpret it. The artistic beauty of the subject is of equal importance, but that goes without saying. How does Qatar inspire you as opposed to your native Iraq? Every place has its beauty, charm and influence on a person, and it didn’t take long until I blended with Qatar’s desert atmosphere despite coming from the different environment or southern Iraq. It is human nature to be able to fit in very quickly with your surroundings, and I am personally enchanted by this wilderness and its details.


100 X 130 OIL ON CANVAS


100 x 130 cm OIL ONCANVAS

Who in the world would you most like to paint? A multitude of facial expressions exist in each and every person, and any could be used as material for painting and drawing. There are no rules or guidelines that say a subject must have a certain shape or expression, whether it is a child or an elderly person, a woman or a man. The important thing is that the facial expression is real and simple so that it can portray an honest message to the audience. Does it matter if your model is famous? Does their reputation affect how you paint them? Famous faces – be they politicians, artists or athletes – make an impact whether we like them or not. For me, adoration of these celebrities is not present in my drawings; in fact, the paintings may reveal something in their faces that challenges our preconceptions of that person. Your portraits are known for being almost photographic - what do you hope to achieve in paint that can’t be captured in photography? I don’t see my paintings as photographic. It’s true that in some of my paintings there exists a precision


100 X 130 CM OIL ON CANVAS

which is close to reality, but drawing involves a human touch which carries with it a lot of emotions and reactions. The camera, on the other hand, fails to do this; it is a medium that can fail to showcase the person’s feelings. You’ve curated for many exhibitions and galleries – does curating inspire your own work? If so, how? Organising, supervising and coordinating are all parts of the creative process and greatly affect the

artistic outcome. Moreover, the process influences my own shows in the way I react as an artist with the environment surrounding me, and inspired by the people around me. Outside of portraiture, what else do you like to explore through your art? In general, art for me is pleasure and a chance at new discovery in my everyday life. It is this sense of adventure that keeps me, and I believe every other artist going.


In the eye of the beholder words: Lucy Knight

Everyone wants a piece of Middle Eastern art, but buying needn’t be a tricky business, says auction house Christie’s Micahel Jeha, just follow your heart.

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Some of the pieces sold at the Christie's April 2013 auction in Doha. Above: Zeni Assi's Ya Beirut. RIGHT: Michael Jeha in action.

he fact that the Middle East has been the land of a burgeoning art scene and the playground for investors and collectors is not new. Since the start of the millennium great strides have been made to put the region on the map and, despite a global economic crisis, it seems to be only getting better. The region hasn't been defeated by the economic crisis when it comes to art. In fact, it would seem the opposite. After what were considered to be boom years for the market in the Middle East, from 2007 to 2008, when sales were reaching up to $15million per auction, many sceptics believed that the party was over and the demand would drop.

The Gulf has continued to be a stomping ground for artists as well as collectors. Qatar in particular has become a major player; not only is the royal family deemed to be the biggest spenders on contemporary art, led by Sheikha Al Mayassa Bint Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani – the daughter of the Emir of Qatar, they have begun to lead the way in the promotion of artistic culture in the region. Doha is receiving worldwide praise for its Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) while further afield the Dubai Art Fair is a centre point of the art calendar. Michael Jeha Later this year Lebanon will be hosting its annual Beirut Art Fair, and with fervour the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is becoming one to watch when it comes to art. According to a recent article in The Economist, the MIA is "one of the half-dozen best museums in the world" -


Tagreed Darghouth's Green Flax. Ayman Baalbaki's Al Moulatham.

not bad for a country still in infancy on the art stage. Galleries have continued to appear and in Dubai alone there are now 150, including the renowned auction house Christie's. For this auction house, which opened an office in the city in 2005, the words 'plateau' and 'dropping' don't have a place in their vocabulary when it comes to the market. “I think it's widely accepted that what you have now is a more sustainable market,” says Christie's Head of Sales in the Middle East, Michael Jeha. “It's growing in a much more steady fashion.” In the most recent sale at the Dubai branch, sales totalled $6.4million, with just two out of


Abdel Rahman Katanani's Swinging Girls

the 103 pieces not being sold. One piece in particular was “The Secret Garden” by Iran’s Farhad Moshir, which went for just under $1million. “More people are taking part now,” says Jeha, “more than five years ago.” As part of what he describes as a global buyer race, it is not just GCC clients participating in the sales. In Dubai itself there are Iranians and Europeans, as well as locals, he notes, and even in Lebanon the support is great, not just for the artist from the country but for other Middle Eastern artists and global auctions. Entering such a market is done with increasingly regularity, and the numbers within the region are not dwindling. Jeha, who was recently in Beirut to

give a talk on how one should purchase art, says that really it’s about love. This makes a change from the boom days of 2007 when the attitude seemed to be one of ‘grab that Old Master faster than you can say Caravaggio’. “We don’t advise people to buy for investment, you should buy for aesthetic reasons,” says Jeha. As he points out, in a market place, prices can go up and they can go down, but if the piece is something you love, then it won’t be such a disappointment if its monetary value decreases. “It’s often the case that those who buy for love tend to make the best investment decisions as well.”


Le Journal (Doha) summer 2013  
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