Qatar National Library Participates in Inaugural Islamic Arts Biennale

Qatar National Library (QNL) is participating in the AlMadar exhibition, a satellite exhibition held in conjunction with the Islamic Arts Biennale 2023, taking place in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) from 23 January to 23 April 2023. The exhibition brings together individuals and institutions from around the world to showcase their collections of vibrant Islamic artistry and historical artifacts spanning over four centuries of history in a dedicated gallery space.

Organized by the Diriyah Biennale Foundation in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture in KSA, the Islamic Arts Biennale 2023 is being held at the Western Hajj Terminal at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, traditionally the annual arrival point for millions of pilgrims on their way to perform the Hajj in the holy city of Mecca. It will also house the AlMadar exhibition. Themed Awwal Bait (The First House), the inaugural Islamic Arts Biennale interweaves newly commissioned works and never-exhibited-before historical artifacts and looks at how the Kaabah in Mecca and the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina inspire Muslims – on both cultural and metaphysical levels – to create a sense of belonging in their own home, their own ‘bait’, wherever that may be.

The first edition of the AlMadar exhibition will feature two segments: “Homage,” which pays tribute to prominent figures in the Islamic arts and culture world, and “Celebrating the Journey,” in which the Library, as well as other global institutions, will showcase more than 260 objects and artifacts from their Islamic art collections. “Celebrating the Journey” will also aim to explore the movement of artifacts, people, and ideas. In addition, institutions from various countries, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Egypt, Tunisia, Mali, Greece, Azerbaijan, and Uzbekistan, will participate by lending significant pieces for the exhibition.

AlMadar aspires to become a global reference and repository for thought-provoking dialogue, exchange of practices, and innovative research around arts and culture from the Islamic world through this edition of the exhibition and future ones.

Commenting on the occasion, Hind Al Khulaifi, Director of Strategic Planning and Projects at Qatar National Library said: “We are honored to participate in the inaugural edition of the Islamic Arts Biennale through the AlMadar exhibition. This is a great opportunity for the Library to showcase the rich Islamic arts and cultural heritage that we have in our collection. By participating in this exhibition, we not only promote the appreciation and understanding of Islamic arts and culture but also foster the exchange of knowledge and ideas across the Islamic world.”

“We invite the public to join us in this exhibition and take part in the programs that we have planned for people to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of Islamic arts and culture,” she added.

The Library will be participating in the AlMadar exhibition for three months and will loan 12 items from the Heritage Library, representing Islam across different parts of the world during the 17th to 19th century. These will include Qur’anic manuscripts from China and other regions, dials, astrolabes, photographs and books on astronomy, among others. The Library also plans to hold programs for families, librarians, experts and historians, and the general public, including those with special needs. The programs will aim to be both physical and online and in different formats such as lectures and workshops.

Established in 2020 with the support of the Saudi Ministry of Culture, the Diriyah Biennale Foundation assumes a critical role in nurturing creative expression and instilling an appreciation for culture, the arts, and their transformative potential. The foundation aspires to be a catalyst for lifelong learning and serves Saudi Arabia’s communities by offering opportunities to engage with the burgeoning local art scene.

For more information about the exhibition, visit the official website of the Diriyah Biennale Foundation:

As part of its mission to preserve the nation’s and the region’s heritage, the Library will continue to invest time and effort into sharing knowledge and empowering future generations across Qatar and beyond.

Source: Qatar National Library

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