Qatar Guide

Arts in Qatar

Arts In Qatar

Art is serious business in Qatar. Qatar is officially the world’s biggest art buyer. Over the last six years Qatar has been buying art at a level never seen before and is responsible for the bulk of all modern art purchases worldwide. 

This is in line with the aim to make Qatar the cultural capital of the Middle East, and a hub for regional cultural tourism.   

The rapid growth of this cultural portfolio is set on course for the influx of the world to Qatari shores with the 2022 FIFA World Cup and is already evident on arrival at Hamad International Airport (HIA), with the passenger terminals showcasing a varied selection of local and international art, curated by Qatar Museums Authority.

As well as Qatar Museums Authority’s showcase museums, Qatar is host to  a burgeoning  arts culture, with Doha Film Institute developing and promoting regional and international film makers, Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra bringing symphonic music to the region, galleries both privately owned or under government sponsorship, classes and workshops available from fashion and fine arts to dance and drumming.

Qatar Museum Authority

Qatar Museum Authority (QMA) is the umbrella initiative that brings together museums, public art and cultural heritage, as a means of being what they describe themselves as a ‘cultural instigator.’

Check for current news and events.

Museum of Islamic Art

The flagship museum of QMA, the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) is an iconic feature of Doha, not just in terms of the prolific collections of Islamic art, but the actual building itself, designed by I.M.Pei is a masterpiece of architecture.

Clearly inspired by traditional Islamic architecture, the limestone MIA building’s ingenious use of sunlight creates constant change with shadows and light across its structure throughout the day.

The MIA permanent exhibits are a collection of islamic heritage from around the world, which illustrate the breadth of art, culture and history within that tradition, through ceramics, glasswork, metalwork, textiles, jewellery and manuscripts.

The MIA library is host extensive resources with light, open study rooms and holds regular activities, like book clubs and social media meet-ups.

MIA has an extensive educational programme with monthly lectures, workshops, family fun days, school workshops, and film screenings.

Check for current news and events.

Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art

Established to showcase the Arab perspective on modern art, Mathaf Museum, offers exhibitions and programmes that place Arab contemporary art within a regional and international context.  

The museum is housed in a renovated school in Qatar Foundation and was redesigned by architect Jean François Bodin. Mathaf has an educational wing that hosts regular programmes, a library, cafe and shop.

There is a lot of construction work in and around Qatar Foundation, so routes to the museum tend to change, so it is definitely advisable to check first. Alternatively there is the free Mathaf Shuttle Bus service that runs between MIA and Mathaf in both directions from Wednesday to Sunday 11am - 5pm.


National Museum of Qatar

Still under construction the National Museum of Qatar (NMQ), aims to combine innovation with tradition.  The museum, designed by Jean Nouvel is a series of interlocking discs to create the appearance of a desert rose.

The museum will house both historic and contemporary influences documenting the rapid change of Qatar through comparisons of past, present and future.

There will be individual oral history cocoons, whole cinematic screen walls and handheld mobile museum guides.

Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum

Located in his farm in Al Shaihaniya, Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani has created his own private museum with over 15,000 artefacts he has collected from his travels around the world, with a special section devoted to Qatari and bedouin heritage. The farm has over 1000 Arabian oryx and gazelles and free roaming peacocks.

Galleries and Art Spaces

There are a series of art spaces dotted around Doha, where one can explore, experience and create art of all different calibers.


Based in MIA grounds this huge gallery space hosts regular exhibitions of both regional and international artists such as Damien Hirst and Takashi Murakami, under the premise of ‘art to spark debate’.

QM Gallery Katara

This intimate gallery hosts exhibitions of both local and international artists who’s work concentrates on human themes and regional perspectives like, Brigitte Lancombe’s portraits of female Arab athletes.

Fire Station Artist in Residence

Established to nurture and develop local talent the nine month Fire Station Artist in Residence programme provides the artists with studios, weekly mentoring sessions and access to art professionals from across the globe.


Al Markhiya Gallery

Exhibitions change every four to six weeks, highlighting emerging and established Arab artists.


Qatar Photographic Society (QPS)

Based in Katara Building 18 the gallery hosts photographic exhibitions from regional and international photographers. QPS also has workshops and courses running throughout the year in both Arabic and English.


Public Art

The national public art strategy aims to bring art into the public realm by exposing art and culture to a wider audience in and around the streets of Doha. Often outdoors in public spaces the objective is to give art a mass appeal and make it accessible to all by taking it out of its traditional museum setting.

Richard Serra

The sculptor Richard Serra has two pieces of public art displayed in Qatar. East-West / West East  is located in the desert Brouq Nature Reserve in Zikreet. This sculpture consists of four steel columns, each over fourteen metres high and running over the course of a kilometre between two seafronts.

His second piece ‘7 ‘ is in located in the grounds of the MIA park. Constructed from seven steel plates. This piece faces out into the sea and the museum.

El Seed, Salwa Road Calligraffiti 

As the name suggests this series of 52 large scale murals, combine the traditional art of calligraphy with the modern art of graffiti. This is a fresh interpretation of a traditional art form, with each mural bing inspired by an aspect of life in Qatar. These murals can be found in a series of underpasses along Salwa Road.

Hamad International Airport (HIA)

An international airport is the perfect place to develop a visual language, and in partnership with Qatar Museum, that’s exactly what HIA has set out to achieve. Displaying work by local, regional and international artists HIA demonstrates that art can be appreciated far beyond the typical gallery or museum experience.

Damien Hirst

HIA will be displaying work by Damien Hirst, but his main piece in Doha, The Miraculous Journeyis a huge installation comprising of fourteen sculptures chronicling the gestation of the foetus, which culminates in a 46 ft, anatomically correct baby boy. This installation is located at Sidra Medical Centre.

Louise Bourgeois

This huge 30 ft bronze cast spider entitled Maman, as a tribute to the artists mother is a permanent  fixture in the foyer of the Qatar National Convention Centre and can be clearly seen by motorists as they drive passed.

Doha Film Institute (DFI)

Based in Katara Cultural Village, DFI seeks to create a culture of film appreciation within Qatar and the region by creating an all encompassing film hub. Their motto ‘Film is Life’ is about using film as part of the culture, community as well as for education and entertainment.

DFI aims to nurture and develop local and regional storytellers, but within a global context and scope. DFI hosts several festivals and has regular screenings.


Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra (QPO)

Established to bring symphonic music to the region, but, also be a platform for music from all over the world.

QPO  celebrates both western and Arabic music. Part of the orchestra’s mandate is to host new and established composer’s, conductor’s and soloists from the Arab world. 

QPO has at least forty programmes a year both at its home in Katara Opera House and abroad on tour.



Katara Cultural Village is the largest multidimensional cultural project in Qatar, aspiring to create diverse interaction through art and cultural exchange.

For a comprehensive list of all facilities check: 

Katara Art Studios (KAS)

KAS runs a series of programmes for artists based in in Qatar and the region. They also host workshops with their exhibiting artists. To get information on how to apply for these programmes and workshops check the KAS link on

Katara Arts Centre (KAC)

This is not only a gallery space that hosts exhibitions and workshops but also has retail units in design, fashion, photography and a visual arts studio.

Qatar Fine Art Society

Hosts exhibitions of local and international artists, as well as workshops, debates and several publications.

Qatar Photographic Society (QPS)

There is a large and growing photographic movement in Qatar and QPS is active in supporting and nurturing this development, but hosting exhibitions, workshops and competitions.


Visual Arts Centre

The centre offers training programmes and support for artists across a wide range of artistic endeavours, from photography, digital graphics, screen printing and oil painting to name a few.