2013 is Qatar UK year of culture – a yearlong collaboration between Qatar and the United Kingdom that puts the focus on art and culture.
Qatari art and culture has been showcased in the UK at such events as the London Book Fair and at The Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park, meanwhile artists and performers from the UK have steadily made their way to Doha, with a hiatus occurring during summer.
So far, events happening in Qatar have included performances of Shakespeare, Doha Film Institute screenings of seminal British films such as Bridge Over The River Kwai and Kes, and a loud and lively performance by percussive dance troupe Stomp. Even Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales, paid a visit and was treated to a concert by Qatar Music Academy students in a shady Katara courtyard setting.
But the year is not over yet, and with Ramadan behind us and the cooler months ahead of us, there are more ‘Qatar UK 2013’ events to look forward to.
Here are five Qatar-based ‘Qatar UK 2013’ cultural happenings worth looking out for:
1. Damien Hurst at Al Riwaq Exhibition Center
From 10 October 2013 until 30 January 2014, Al Riwaq Exhibition Center, situated next to the Museum of Islamic Art, will be the host venue of the first solo exhibition in the Middle East – and an extensive one at that – by celebrated artist Damien Hurst.
Since curating his first show in 1988, Hurst has been at the centre of the UK’s modern art movement and was the leading light of the ‘Young British Artists’ who dominated the art scene in London in the 1990s. His large-scale instillations have included the preservation in formaldehyde of dead sharks and cows, often dissected, or have featured sculls encrusted in gemstones and gold and have met with both positive and negative critical response. He is also known for his large “spin paintings” and “spot paintings”.
It is anticipated that many of his most well-known works of art will be on show at this Qatar Museum Authority-supported exhibition.
2. BBC Symphony Orchestra perform at Katara Opera House
The prestigious BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, will twice play the Opera House at Katara Cultural Village on 30 September and 1 October as part of the orchestra’s tour of Asia.
The orchestra, well known globally thanks to their involvement in the BBC Proms series of concerts that take place each summer at the Royal Albert Hall in London, will perform a repertoire of popular British orchestral classics including Edward Elgar’s Overture Cockaigne and his Enigma Variations Op.36, Benjamin Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra Op.34 and Vaughan Williams’ Symphony No.2 in G ‘London’ and his Lark Ascending. The performances, which will include a different selection of pieces each night, will start at 7.30pm.
3. 3D Encounters: Where Science Meets Heritage
University College London’s recently added outpost in Doha, UCL Qatar, hosts its first exhibition, 3D Encounters: Where Science Meets Heritage, until the end of the year. Situated within the Education City building they share with Georgetown University, visitors have the chance to get to grips with how scanning technology can be used to create 3D replicas of precious archaeological artefacts and the benefit this can have for conservation.
Visitors are given the opportunity to handle virtual images of museum-grade artefacts during Education City working hours (Sunday to Thursday, 8am-5pm).
4. Oliver! at the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA)
The Doha Film Institute continues its DFI UK Cinema Showcase with screenings of director Carol Reed’s 1968 musical film Oliver! at the MIA’s auditorium on Thursday 29 August (7pm) and Friday 30 August (4pm and 7pm).
More special screenings, focusing on a different British film each month, will take place through to December 2013.
5. The Selector on QBS Radio
OK, not strictly a happening, as it’s not an event taking place in a specific location in Qatar, but The Selector is an award-winning two-hour show produced by the British Council that provides a chance for listeners to hear the very best in contemporary music from the UK. Eschewing chart hits, it puts its focus firmly on promoting the sounds and talents of the UK’s vibrant and diverse contemporary music scene.
The Selector can be heard across Qatar via QBS Radio (97.5FM) between 4pm and 6pm every Sunday until the end of the year.