Main menu
The Artling Logo
Signup / Login

Visual search


City Art Guide: Doha

ByKim Tay
City Art Guide: Doha

Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, Qatar

Doha is an art oasis found in the midst of a desert. With the highest GDP per capita in the world, the Middle Eastern sovereign state has made a strong bid as an arts and cultural capital within the region. Since the mid 2000s, the Qatari royal family has actively fostered and enhanced the small country’s cultural infrastructure. The majority of the current art institutions in Doha are government-sponsored, nested under the Qatar Museums (QM) umbrella, with very few commercial galleries.

Quick Tips

Getting around in Doha is easiest with a private car hire. There are also public buses and taxis available around the city. The best time to go to Doha is between November and early April, to avoid the summer period when temperatures can go up to 50 degrees. While in the Qatari capital, stay at your pick of five-star accommodations with most major hotel chains, like the Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton, having opened in the past few decades.

Commercial Galleries

Installation view of an exhibition at Al Markhiya Gallery
Image courtesy of My Art Guides

Al Markhiya Gallery (Katara Art Centre, Building 5) is Doha’s oldest privately-owned gallery, and aims to promote contemporary Arab art both locally and globally, through a changing roster of emerging and established artists from Qatar and from throughout the Middle East. The gallery has two spaces with current exhibitions featured at Katara Art Center.


Installation view at Anima Gallery
Image courtesy of Anima Gallery

Located on a man-made island called The Pearl (which is also shaped liked a string of pearls), Anima Gallery (30 La Croisette, Porto Arabia, The Pearl) is a beachfront space that works with regional and international artists. Established in 2012, the gallery hosts five exhibitions each year in a variety of media.


Institutions / Non-Profit Spaces

Exterior of QM Gallery Al Riwaq on the occasion of Damien Hirst's solo exhibition
Image courtesy of Qatar Museums

QM Gallery Al Riwaq (Al Corniche St) is known for bringing major retrospectives from famed international artists, such as Takashi Murakami and Damien Hirst, as well as specially-curated exhibitions by the likes of Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang and more. 


View of Richard Serra's works at the Brouq Nature Reserve
Image courtesy of Qatar Museums

For a real art pilgrimage, head out to the Brouq Nature Reserve to catch four monolithic Richard Serra sculptures in the Qatari desert. A site-specific piece, East-West / West-East (Brouq Nature Reserve) is well worth the trek outside of Doha.


An exterior view of The Fire Station
Image courtesy of Qatar Museums

Housed in an old civil defence building, Ther Fire Station (Mohammed Bin Thani St, Old Civil Defense Roundabout) was set up to develop and support local artists. It offers nine-month programmes for artists’ studio residencies, where artists-in-residence can take advantage of the space’s facilities, mentorships and curatorial support.


View of a recent exhibition at the Katara Art Center
Image courtesy of Katara Art Center

Katara Art Center (KAC) (Katara Cultural Village, Building 5) is an independent platform dedicated to contemporary art and cross-disciplinary projects and practices. The center supports emerging artists through exhibitions at their Aquarium Gallery, and engages the community with art workshops, talks, performances and more.


Exterior of MATHAF
Image courtesy of MATHAF

Founded in 2010, MATHAF: Arab Museum of Modern Art (Student Center, Education City) is housed in a renovated former school building. The collection of MATHAF is co-owned by Qatar Museums and Qatar Foundation and has over 9,000 works, all focused on modern and contemporary art from the region.


Exterior of the Museum of Islamic Art
Image courtesy of the Islamic Arts Magazine

The flagship institution under Qatar Museums, the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) (Corniche Promenade) brings together Islamic art from three continents from the past 1,400 years, including ceramics, textiles and other cultural artefacts. The iconic building, designed by renowned architect I.M. Pei complements the historical relics within. 


Exterior of the National Museum of Qatar
Image courtesy of Qatar Museums

The National Museum of Qatar (Al Lou Lou St) is in a dramatic building inspired by the desert rose, designed by French architect Jean Nouvel. The museum is built around the historical palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al-Thani, and hosts exhibitions on Qatari heritage and history.


Exterior of the Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani Museum
Image courtesy of FBQ Museum

A half hour ride away from Doha, the Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum (Dukhan Highway) displays a private collection of over 15,000 artworks and objects, including artefacts, rare vintage cars, special coins and currency from the Islamic world.


View of the historic souk within which the Souq Waqif Art Centre is found
Image courtesy of Qatar Pavilion

Based in the historic souk, or market, the Souq Waqif Art Centre (Ali Bin Abdullah St) aims to preserve and enhance Qatari and Middle Eastern artistic traditions. It has an art centre showcasing local and international artwork on the first floor, and hosts various art workshops in the space.


View of a work by Kuwaiti artist Monira Al Qadiri on display at VCUQatar
Image courtesy of Qatar Foundation

Affiliated with the Virginia Commonwealth University’s satellite campus, the VCUQatar Gallery (Al Luqta St, Education City) showcases the works of its students and faculty, from fashion and graphic design to fine arts, as well as the works of international artists.


Click here for more City Art Guides! 

Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.

Related articles