Sheikh Hassan bin Mohammed bin Ali Al Thani, the founder of Mathaf and Vice Chairperson of Qatar Museums Authority (QMA), was guest of honour at a major international art event in Marrakech attended by 400 VIPs and dignitaries from all over the world. The gala dinner of the inaugural Marrakech art fair was also attended by Morocco's Minister of Culture, Bensalem Hamesh, and members of the art world elite from as far afield as Paris, London, Berlin, Dubai and other Arab centres of artistic excellence. In recognition of Mathaf’s high global standing, H.E Sheikh Hassan was selected as the prestigious guest of honor, an accolade that brought to a close the project’s regional tour on a high. The Marrakech art fair, founded by Hichem and Zineb Daoudi, is a first time effort to bring local Moroccan galleries for exhibition side by side with international names. Among the participants were Galerie Enrico Navarra, Galerie Isabelle Van Den Eynde and Galerie Hussnot. The involvement of Mathaf in the art fair, according to H.E Sheikh Hassan, is part of the museum’s strategy to act as a hub and catalyst for creative exchange between the different Arab countries."Morocco has always been a place of great inspiration to all artists, Arab and otherwise; giving birth to pioneer artists such as Ahmed Cherkaoui and Jilali Gharbaoui as well as important contemporary artists. Mathaf hopes to give back to Morocco, displaying the works of artists from both present and past, and offering a place where the public can learn of significant art movements within the Arab world,” he said. During the art fair, Mathaf also hosted a conversation between Moroccan artist Farid Belkahia and art historian and curator Dr. Nada Shabout. The talk addressed the art scene in Morocco in the 60s and 70s and the potential role of Mathaf as an institution. It began with an opening address by the Acting Director and Chief Curator Wassan Al-Khudhairi, focusing on the goals of Mathaf. H.E. Sheikh Hassan presided over the event. Mathaf’s pre-launch road show, having finished its Arab world portion with visits to Cairo, Beirut and Marrakech, continues on to London and Paris over the next 10 days. There it will introduce the museum to the European art world before returning to Qatar for a final pre-launch event in Doha.
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