The “Art For Tomorrow” conference was held in Qatar last week, sponsored by the International New York Times. The focus of the symposium was looking at the role of cities and technology on culture, through the lens of the artist and audience.
A noted guest speaker was one of the world’s greatest art patrons, Sheikha al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, sister of Qatar’s Emi and Chairwoman of Qatar Museums. She famously oversees Doha’s Museum of Islamic Art, which opened in 2008 and was designed by I.M. Pei. She is known for championing such controversial artists as Takashi Murakami and Damien Hirst.
During a panel discussion, Sheikha Mayassa was asked about her art choices. “As a nation that’s growing very quickly and embracing global culture and joining in the narrative of global art, it’s quite obvious for us to bring in contemporary artists,” she said. “It doesn’t mean that we’re trying to create controversial moments.”
The point was to “inspire young artists,” she continued. “Not everybody can travel around the world, but we can organize exhibitions from the world.”