The Holy Month of Ramadan is upon us. A time for fasting, for reflection and for spending time with family and good friends, it is also a time for enjoying a range of artistic offerings across Doha.
1. Ramadan: the perfect time to visit Katara’s exhibition spaces
Katara looks at its best during Ramadan evenings, with its twinkling white lights peppering the hillsides and decoration throughout the Cultural Village. There are restaurants providing a selection of Iftar and Suhoor options, but, more importantly, there are many free galleries for you to wander through and enjoy.
Most of the exhibition spaces have been utilized this year, and within them there have been installed a wide range of artworks. These range from the Qatar Photographic Society’s delightful Ramadan exhibition – featuring pictures from the Society archives that mostly look at the human aspect of Ramadan – to an extensive exhibition of ancient Qur’ans.
Just wander around and see what draws you in.
2. … Plus there are Katara’s special Ramadan events
Hats off to Katara for really making the extra effort to make this year’s Ramadan really special. This is evidenced by the many events taking place, in addition to the many exhibitions.
These include a performance by religious stanza vocalist Karima at 10pm on 18 July (Building 18) and a free Sand Animation performance by artist Shima on 19 and 20 July at 10pm in the Katara Drama Theater.
Another free10pm event at Katara Drama Theater can be seen from 25-27 July when Contemporary Theater perform their Light Calligraphy Show.
3. Listen to QF Radio’s adaptation of the Arabian Nights tale
For the first time, QF Radio’s Arabic frequency is airing radio plays throughout the month of Ramadan. These short, 10-minute adaptation of some of the well-known Arabian Nights‘ (1001 Nights’) tales air at 9.30pm each evening on the 93.7FM frequency and, having listened to the first couple, we think the cast and crew have managed to capture a real sense of the magic that goes with these traditional tales.
This Ramadan, the performances are only in Arabic. But next year, who knows?
4. Don’t forget Mathaf: Museum of Modern Art
There are no visiting exhibitions at this time of year at Mathaf, but you can still see (for free) a selection of pieces by five of the artists who’s work is featured in Mathaf’s permanent collection, entitled Forever Now, plus a special summer exhibition entitled Selections from the Collection (running until 31 August) that showcases the diversity of works within the museum’s collection.
Restricted opening hours during Ramadan are 11am to 3pm every day apart from Mondays and Fridays, when Mathaf stays closed. On Wednesdays and Saturdays there are extra evening opening hours from 8pm until midnight.
5. If you need to hear live music, there are always the Suhoors
The usual music venues across Doha are closed during Ramadan, but there is still the chance to hear live music being played at a number of the more lavish Suhoors across the city. These late-night/early-morning feasts, often held within tents at some of the 5-star hotels, can often be the best place to hear tradition Arabic music performed live by small groups of musicians.
Venues providing music while you eat include the Grand Hyatt’s Ramadanak Tent, the St Regis Doha, and The Diplomatic Club, Hilton Doha’s Hakawi Tent, and La Cigale.