Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha is a one-a-kind institution that provides an Arabic perspective on modern and contemporary art.  About 20 years ago, the journey of the museum had just begun as the founder of the museum envisioned how art should be displayed.  A collection of art was built to serve artists and the public, to showcase a rich and representative treasure house of modern Arab art. The collection was seen as a vision to offer artists a platform in Doha and around the world.

The aim of building a groundbreaking Arab museum of modern art was to enhance people’s knowledge about art and culture and to represent a bigger story. To connect with the rich cultural heritage that promises contemporary art movement, the art collection grew bigger and better, with the aim of representing a priceless resource.  The museum has a platform for all kinds of artists, guests, scholars, and collectors.  So, when it comes to planning a vacation in the Middle East, think of the museum of modern art, an ideal attraction, known of its cultural and history.

The Story Of Mathaf Arab Museum Of Modern Art Qatar

The Story Of Mathaf Arab Museum Of Modern Art Qatar

We all love to hear stories about historical places and about its people. One such story you need to know is about Mathaf Arab Museum, a story that should be told at least once. Back in the 1990s, a collection of modern and contemporary art was built focusing on the region and historical and cultural connection from North Africa, Asia, Turkey, and Iran. The image of how the Mathaf museum of modern art would look like was gotten from the first space of Mathaf, sitting in the two private villas in Madinat Khalifa in Doha.

The museum's development has become an inspiring space for dialogue and scholarship about modern and contemporary art with artists and for art production and display. The museum in Qatar focuses on flaunting its collection and creating major shows based on new commissions.

Collection Of Mathaf Arab Museum

Collection Of Mathaf Arab Museum
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The art collection is a representation of the 20th and 21st century modern and contemporary art of the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe, linked with Qatar and the Arab Peninsula. The collection brings all the artists from all around the world and showcase redefined art practices and art historical narratives. The development of the nation states, the struggles and post-independence reconstruction projects, the development and impact of the oil industry, the birth of new urban centers and cities and the willingness to grow in a digital and network era are some of the themes of the aesthetics and politics of change and progress with several modern and historical art and society.

Some of the art work talk about the movement of human civilization throughout history. For instance, new visual tendencies are inspired by ancient civilizations discovered through Mahmoud Mokhtar, Hafidh Droubi, and Jawad Selim’s paintings. Society is portrayed through the art work done by Chaibia, Inji Efflatoun, Paul Guiragossian, Faiq Hassan and Issa Saqer. On the other hand, Seif Wanly, Abdullah Al Muharraqi and Hamed Owais’s paintings portray the social and industrial progress.

By far, it is one of the best places to go in Qatar as it has something for everyone. Artists like Ahmed Cherkaoui, Chaouki Choukini, and Parviz Tanavoli are known for their traditional signs, crafts and calligraphy. Saloua Raouda Choucair, Jilali Gharbaoui, and Mohamed Melehi are artists who are known for their abstract geometric of forms, as well as architecture, science, and technology. Besides these, people should discover a different side to the world of art which include the use of natural materials, found objects and local language to express ideas about the shift in the economic and ecological atmosphere of the UAE and Qatar.

Doha museum of modern art offers a glimpse of the history and changing perspectives of time, which is always a rare sight to see.  A strong statement about the Arab spring and the revolutionary changes around the world is seen through the production of art driven by the colonial and post-independence geopolitics and pan-African and pan-Arab cultural movements from the late 1950s to transnational connections of the Generation 00 artists working in the 2000s. Farid Belkahia, Ibrahim El Salahi, and Hossein Zenderoudi work of art talk about their political and artistic positions and the reinvention of the visual languages that rupture Eurocentric canons. Manal AlDowayan, Hayy Kahraman, and Wael Shawky are artists who have been questioning the historical narratives and interrogate struggles of freedom.

Mathaf museum is much more than just linear histories of art. It adds value to critical thinking and production on various modernity's highlighting the rise of art which is linked to the change in social and ecological landscapes.  A proposal of reading a multitude of various approaches and statements in the making of art is projected through the display of Mathaf Permanent collection. The idea was defined through a curatorial approach that sees art histories and discourses of various movements in a conversation with the Arab cultural group and international avant- gardes.

The museum in Doha is shaped by various sociopolitical contexts and conditions of products and offers a fresh perspective on art and society. What more can you want when it comes to exploring unusual art work only found in the Middle East?

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The Mathaf Library Or Maktaba In Arabic

The Mathaf Library Or Maktaba In Arabic

The Mathaf Qatar, known as Maktaba in Arabic, is home to a collection of modern and contemporary Arab art from the region. It is one of the largest libraries filled with a range of books and publications on general, modern and art history with focusing on the Arab world. Tourists will be surrounded by over 7,000 books and art work, which makes it the perfect for studying and research. When it comes to researching on temporary exhibitions, the curators will be able to help. Tourists visiting the library will not have a problem communicating as there are people who speak both Arabic and English.

In case people need a change in scenery, they can visit the Mathaf café close by. Besides visiting the café, people should go shopping in Qatar, one of the most ideal activities that is said to be a stress buster.

Mathaf Museum Gift Shop

Mathaf Museum

The gift shop at Mathaf Doha is functional from Sunday to Thursday, between 9 am- 3 pm. Before going to the museum, one will have to book their tickets on the website.  So, if you want to buy something for your loved ones, the gift shop is the place for you. It has everything people often look for and is one of the most ideal places to visit when on vacation.

Mathaf Encyclopedia of Modern Art and Arab World

Mathaf Encyclopedia of Modern Art and Arab World

A bilingual, peer- reviewed online resource, the Mathaf Encyclopedia of modern art and Arab world offers detailed information about modern and contemporary artists from the Arab world. The team of scholars and researchers author all the Encyclopedia entries which is a part of the development of Mathaf and the increase in knowledge on its permanent collection.  Data on all the Arab artists are standardized to encourage several perspectives on the history of art of international mordenites. Guests can read all the essay and interviews given by artists on a range of subjects. The encyclopedia continues to develop and publish entries on all the artists.

Tourists will be transported to the world of art which is of course an experience not to be missed. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity that people should enjoy and learn.

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Learning At The Museum

Learning At The Museum

There is so much knowledge and information one can learn at the museum. The museum has designed methodologies and content about the history of Arab modern art and create a special learning program for various people which aim at stimulating creativity, questions and a deep understanding of modern and contemporary of the Middle East.  What more can anyone ask for when it comes to having the best time of their lives learning the history of the art in the Middle East. Kids will always want to come back for more and will want to spend an entire day here.

For Schools

Kindergarten to grade 12 students, from local and international schools are offered a range of learning activities.

For Teachers

A workshop for teachers and museum educators is held, which aims at ensuring they work together to offer innovative teaching and learning.  Tourists are invited to join the workshop and can even share their ideas on how to make teaching more innovative, can discover object-based learning in the galleries and design a curriculum together.

For Universities

A program is developed with the local and international universities. People can enroll themselves in the 8- month internship to learn about Mathaf voices and much more.

For Adults

Are you not sure about how to talk about art with your friends or family? You can attend the creative workshops that talks about the works of art.

For Families

The museum has a family program that encourages young kids to discover art with their families. There is something for all ages.

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Student Art Competition And Exhibition

The aim is to engage with various fields and communities through various activities and programs. The museum has become the best tourist attractions in Doha for everyone around the world. Mathaf Student art competition and exhibition looks to develop and refine artistic talent which showcases an ideal educational platform. The annual program was held to celebrate the spirit of innovation and creativity among students of all ages. Students, schools and parents are encouraged to familiarize themselves with modern and contemporary styles of art through the collection seen at the museum.

Past Exhibitions

Visual Transparency

The theme was first introduced back in 2018, which began as an introductory workshop to discuss various topics like:  defining transparency, its meaning, types and ways to use it as a way of conveying feelings and meanings behind the work of art. A training session is held on how to discover the messages embodied in the world of art that comes from the ideas and materials chosen to carry out the artwork.

Visits are often held to the schools participating: Moza Bent Mohammed Preparatory School for Girls, Asma bint Abi Bakr Preparatory School for Girls, Rokaya Preparatory School for Girls, Umm Salamah Elementary School, Al Shifa Preparatory School for Girls and Abu Bakr Al Siddiq Preparatory School for Boys.

The performance of the students was supervised during the implementation of the projects.  Feedback and remarks on the work of art was of course given. These are certain things that make a holiday special and ensures a lifetime of memories.

“Looking In”- Exhibition

Have you ever heard of something called “looking in”? If you haven’t then you are in for a treat of a life time. "Looking in” was a creative art work celebrated by students back in 2015 at the 3rd Mathaf Student Art Competition and Exhibition.  A record number of 400 student applications from various schools in Doha were seen at the competition. Apart from the competition, musical acts including the Qatar music academy were enjoyed the guests.  It is a rare exhibition not many people have heard off and, of course is a must visit while on vacation in Qatar.

Black and White And Transform

The black and white exhibition held back in 2014 had over 500 students, teachers and guests. It was held to celebrate the artistic expressions of various artists. Transform was another exhibition held back in 2012, that features over 221 artwork and had over 600 students, teachers and members attending. It is one of those exhibitions that is often talked about all over the world, and of course attracts tourists each year. It is the one place people will get to explore a range of art work, delightful to the naked eye. It is unusual and not something found anywhere else, one of the best things to do in Qatar.

General Visitors Guidelines

  • Tickets have to be bought online in advance
  • MIA's Education Centre and Library is open to the public and conducts educational events and programs

These are some of the guidelines people should follow when it comes to visiting the museum. There is a lot to explore and learn in the world of art.

Additional Information

Opening Hours

  • Saturday to Thursday: 9am to 7pm
  • Friday: 1.30pm to 7pm

Features And Facilities

  • Gift shop
  • Cafe
  • Library
  • Workshop
  • Education Center

How To Reach Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art

The closest airport to the museum is Hamad International Airport, where most of the major airlines fly in and out. Once people land at the airport, they can hire a cab or taxi and reach their final destination. People can get take the metro and reach the museum. These are ways of reaching the museum with ease.  Besides visiting this museum, people can even take a taxi and visit the National Museum in Qatar.

The Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art Qatar is one of the most popular cultural and historical places to visit all year round. The art work at the museum is a collection from the 19th and 21st century. Every visitor is offered facilities like parking and a café to eat and drink, ensuring a comfortable visit. People are offered a guided tour for an ideal understanding of the history. To have the best ideal holiday experience in the middle east, people should book their flights to Doha and visit the museum.


Q1. What is the Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art?

The one a kind Mathaf Arab museum offers a view on modern and contemporary art. It began is journey 20 years ago, when its founder envisioned how art should be displayed. A collection of art was created to flaunt a rich and representative house of modern Arab art. The museum is home to some of the most exquisite art work, found only in the Middle East.

Q2. What are some of the facilities offered at Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern art?

Some of the facilities offered at the museum include:

  • Gift shop
  • Cafe
  • Library
  • Workshop
  • Education center
Q3. What is the Student Art Competition And Exhibition about?

The idea behind the exhibition is to interact with various fields and communities through a number of activities and programs. The exhibition aims at developing and refining artistic talent that represents an ideal educational platform.

Q4. What are timings of the museum?

Even though people can visit the museum the whole year round, it does have fixed timings, which include:

  • Saturday to Thursday: 9am to 7pm
  • Friday: 1.30pm to 7pm
Q5. What makes Mathaf Encyclopedia of Modern Art and Arab World an absolute delight?

The Mathaf Encyclopedia of modern art and Arab world is a bilingual peer reviewed online resource that offers information about modern and contemporary artists from the Arab world. It is a special place that it enhances knowledge about the various collections and gives a sneak peek into the art of international mordenites.

Q6. What is the main focus behind the museum?

The aim of the art showcased is to highlight the cultural and regional relationship between Turkey, Iran and other Asian and North African nation. The journey began in 1990 and came into light as a platform for diverse art from various countries in 2010.

Q7. What is “Looking in” about?

It Is a creative work of art celebrated back in 2015 by students at the 3rd Mathaf Student Art Competition and Exhibition. Over 400 students from various schools in Doha were seen at the competition. Guests can enjoy the musical acts including the Qatar at the exhibition.

Q8. Is it worth visiting the Museum of Modern Art?

With a collection of over 9,000 works showcased in the gallery, the museum of modern art is said to be the best in Qatar. Guests can discover the history and traditional art techniques from the widespread collection of art. It is an absolute delight that people should visit at least once.

Q9. What is the best time to visit the Museum?

People can visit the museum the whole year round and learn about the story behind the collection of art work and the museum itself.

Q10. How to reach Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art?

Hamad International Airport is the closest airport to the museum, where most of the airlines fly in and out. People can even hire a cab or taxi to reach the museum. The most convenient way of reaching the museum is by metro.