Qatar Museums (QM) has announced the Qatar-Indonesia 2023 Year of Culture program, a year-long cultural exchange that features a range of activities including performances, exhibitions, culinary events, photography projects, and volunteer programs. The initiative aims to deepen the understanding between Qatar and Indonesia by showcasing their shared passions, traditions, and cultures.
Launched in 2012, the Years of Culture initiative has been an annual bilateral exchange that strengthens cultural ties between Qatar and another nation. This year’s program focuses on enhancing the creative and cultural industries in both Qatar and Indonesia through sustainable, long-term partnerships.
Qatar Museums, which has been at the center of building the country’s cultural infrastructure, aims to nurture the creative and cultural industries that make up an ever-larger portion of the global GDP. The creative and cultural economy already accounts for 7% of Indonesia’s GDP, making it an especially strategic investment for emerging economies such as Indonesia.
The year officially began with a reception at the Museum of Islamic Art, which houses a spectacular collection of Indonesian artifacts in new galleries dedicated to Southeast Asia. The galleries will open to the public on March 12, highlighting the connection between different cultures through exhibits on the trade of commodities and the exchange of ideas across the Islamic world and beyond.
Throughout the year, Qatar and Indonesia will collaborate on various projects showcasing their shared passions and traditions. Ramadan will offer an opportunity to embark on special culinary journeys in both countries, with Indonesian chefs infusing traditional ingredients into menus of several restaurants in Qatar during Ramadan. At the same time, Qatari cuisine and traditional celebrations like Garangao will make their way to Indonesia.
The Years of Culture has also partnered with Reach Out to Asia (ROTA) to organize a volunteer trip for a group of young people from Qatar to work with school children in Indonesia. The longest-running exchange program of the Qatar Years of Culture program, the Photography Journey, will also be organized this year with the support of the Jakarta International Photography Festival (JIPFEST).
The year’s special emphasis of fostering the creative and cultural industries will be carried out through three-month-long residency programs, pairing Qatari and Indonesian designers to encourage direct engagement between emerging talent from both countries. These collaborative residencies will provide opportunities for Qatari product and fashion designers to discover traditional Indonesian craftsmanship from local masters in jewelry design, metalworking, and embroidery.
The program will culminate in a cultural extravaganza in Qatar celebrating shared traditions of craftsmanship and hospitality. Major events will celebrate vibrant cultural traditions in both Qatar and Indonesia, including participation in the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival and the return of the annual Cultural Festival at Flag Plaza celebrating Indonesia as this year’s partner.
Through these initiatives, the Years of Culture program aims to bring people closer together, encourage dialogue, and deepen understanding between nations. The ties of friendship that are strengthened and formed through these programs are long-lasting, building a strong and sustainable cultural infrastructure that benefits both countries.
Under the patronage of His Highness the Amir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and led by its Chairperson, Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, QM has made Qatar a vibrant center for the arts, culture, and education in the Middle East and beyond. Qatar Museums’ goal is to develop an innovative, diverse, and progressive nation, bringing people together to ignite new thinking, spark critical cultural conversations, educate and encourage environmental stewardship and sustainable practices, and amplify the voices of Qatar’s people.
QM oversees a growing network of museums, heritage sites, festivals, public art installations, and programs, sharing art and culture from Qatar, the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia (MENASA) region with the world. Among the museums that QM manages are the Museum of Islamic Art and MIA Park, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, the National Museum of Qatar, QM Gallery Al Riwaq, QM Gallery Katara, and 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum.
QM’s newly created Creative Hub also supports projects that nurture artistic talent and create opportunities to build a strong and sustainable cultural infrastructure. Some of these projects include the Fire Station Artist in Residence, the Tasweer Qatar Photo Festival, and the creative hub for innovation, fashion, and design M7.
Animating everything that Qatar Museums does is an authentic connection to Qatar and its heritage, a steadfast commitment to inclusivity and accessibility, and a belief in creating value through invention. QM has made Qatar a vibrant center for the arts, culture, and education in the Middle East and beyond.
Through its various initiatives, QM has been instrumental in building Qatar’s cultural infrastructure and showcasing its heritage and traditions to the world. Its annual Years of Culture program has also been successful in deepening cultural ties between Qatar and other nations, fostering greater understanding and appreciation of each other’s cultures.
As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, initiatives such as the Years of Culture program become all the more important in promoting cultural exchange and dialogue between nations. The Qatar-Indonesia 2023 Year of Culture program is just one example of how cultural diplomacy can be used to strengthen relations between countries and bring people closer together.
Overall, Qatar Museums’ commitment to promoting art, culture, and education underscores its belief in the transformative power of creativity and innovation. As Qatar continues to grow and develop as a nation, QM will undoubtedly continue to play a pivotal role in shaping its cultural landscape and showcasing its heritage to the world.