top of page

Qatar International Art Festival 2023: A Symphony of Global Creativity and Cultural Unity

Qatar International Art Festival 2023: A Symphony of Global Creativity and Cultural Unity

In the heart of Doha, from the 20th to the 25th of November 2023, the vibrant and cosmopolitan city played host to the Qatar International Art Festival (QIAF) 2023, a six-day celebration of artistic expression, cultural exchange, and creative exploration. Organized by the esteemed Qatari Company MAPS International WLL, under the visionary leadership of Ms. Rashmi Agarwal, the festival unfolded as a magnificent tapestry of artistry, bringing together over 300 artists from 61 countries and drawing more than 10,000 enthusiastic visitors.

Ms. Rashmi Agarwal, Head of the Event, set the tone for the festival in her inaugural address, expressing heartfelt gratitude to the State of Qatar for providing a nurturing environment for artistic growth. She extended special thanks to the collaborative efforts of partners and sponsors, highlighting the significant contributions of Expo 2023 Doha, Katara Cultural Village Foundation, UNESCO, British Council Qatar, ICOM Qatar, Indian Embassy, and numerous others. Her words encapsulated the spirit of unity that underpinned the festival's success.

Over the last five years, QIAF has evolved into a global platform, a testament to the unwavering commitment of its organizers. Ms. Agarwal remarked, "Thanks for the great time…and the great memories. I am sure the extravaganza will become for you all a cherished memory, a snapshot that you will showcase for the rest of your lives." These sentiments echoed the sentiment that QIAF is not just an event, but an indelible memory etched in the minds of all who participated.

Acknowledging Partners and Supporters: A Gratitude-filled Overture

QIAF 2023 stood tall on the pillars of collaboration and partnership, and the organizers took a moment to express their sincere appreciation. Festival partners, including Expo2023 Doha, Katara Cultural Village Foundation, ICOM Qatar, UNESCO, British Council Qatar, DPS Modern Indian School, and Arab Institutional Academy, were recognized for their invaluable contributions. The organizers also thanked participating art galleries, international and national artists for enriching the festival with their diverse perspectives.

The festival's red-carpet VIP opening, graced by H.E. Professor Dr. Khaled Bin Ibrahim Al Sulaiti, General Manager of Katara Cultural Village Foundation, elevated the event to new heights. Distinguished guests, ambassadors, and representatives from over 40 embassies in the State of Qatar added a touch of diplomatic flair to the opening, setting the stage for a week of artistic brilliance.

A Canvas of Learning: Workshops and Masterclasses

QIAF wasn't merely a display of finished art but a journey of learning and collaboration. Renowned artists led art workshops and masterclasses, providing a unique opportunity for participants to hone their skills.

Art workshops by Haafiza Azaz Sayed, Shadiya Mohammed, Borka Chirinos Sattler, Natalia Curmanova, Tamara Mazzawi, Joud Khalaf Al-Rushidat, Cecilia Ruth Brook Master Classes by International And National Master of Arts - Wissam Al-Nasairi, Shima Amia, Reshat Ameti, AZADEH KARIMKHANI, Pantea mahrou, Sara Khalid Al-Hail, Dushan Ristovski, Emine Humeyra Bayraktar, Vasko Ristovski, Statira Alyea.

Dialogue on Art and Sustainability: A Thought-Provoking Panel Discussion

The festival's intellectual core was the Art Panel Talk and Discussion themed "The Science of 'ART' towards Sustainability and Environmental Responsibility." Ms. Rashmi Agarwal was joined by a distinguished panel, including.

  1. Mr Abdullla Yousef Al Mulla – Director of 321- Qatar Olympics and Sports Museums,

  2. Dr Waseem Kotoub - Country Director British Council Qatar,

  3. Mr Jack Thomas Taylor - Associate Curator and Interim Director Board Member – ICOM,

  4. Mr Abdulla Al Naama - General Manager Msheireb Museums,

  5. Ms Moudhi Al Hajri – Veteran Qatari Artist, and philanthropist.

  6. Ms Alanoud Jamal - Sports Specialist – Project Management

  7. Ms Amna AL Mohanadi – Health and wellness consultant

  8. Mr Khalifa AL Obaidly - Director & CEO Fire Station Museum – Qatar,

  9. Mr Rasul Samadov - Programme Speciaist UNESCO,

  10. Mr Maher Mansour - Student Affairs Supervisor - Arab International Academy.

This insightful dialogue explored the intersection of art and environmental consciousness, emphasizing the role of artists in fostering sustainable practices.

Enriching Minds: The Art Conference

The festival expanded beyond canvas and brush with the organization of an Art Conference, featuring six experienced personalities from Qatar and around the world. Covering topics from the importance of sports and art for the youth generation to the connection of art with horticulture and sustainability, the conference facilitated a rich exchange of knowledge and cultural experiences.

  1. Mr Abdullla Yousef Al Mulla - Director of 321- Qatar Olympics and Sports Museums. Knowledge shared on the topic "Importance of Sports and Art for our Youth Generation."

  2. Mr Abdulrahman Al Ishaq - Director, Public Art, Qatar Museum – Topic "Public Art is a powerful form of expression"

  3. Dr Hafiz Ali Abdulla - Board Member, ICOM Senior Director – Corporate Communication, Msheirib Properties – Topic “knowledge and experience on and about esteemed ICOM Qatar”

  4. Ms Rawda Mubarak Rashid Al-Amri – Cultural Consultant, Ministry of Culture, Qatar. Topic “About Qatar - Q Change”


  6. Dr Waseem Kotoub – Country Director British Council Qatar - Topic “Arts response to Global Changes”

Cultural Extravaganza: An Evening of Harmony

A Cultural and Musical Evening, with H.E. Mr. Vipul, the Ambassador of India to Qatar, as the Guest of Honor, added a melodic note to the festival. The cultural extravaganza featured performances from the Indian Cultural Centre, enchanting melodies from Pandit Santosh and Avinash band, and the artistic expressions of Iranian artist Hadis Ghamoos, creating an atmosphere of harmony and unity.

Networking in Art: A Dinner of Connections

A Networking Dinner during the festival provided a platform for participants and dignitaries to engage in meaningful conversations. International artists found a space to connect, share ideas, and build relationships, fostering a sense of camaraderie that transcended borders.

Live Painting Art: A Competition of Creativity

The festival's dynamism reached its peak with a live paintings competition that witnessed the participation of over 100 artists. The vibrant strokes and innovative expressions resulted in five outstanding winners, each awarded cash prizes and trophies, reinforcing the festival's commitment to recognizing and encouraging emerging talents.

Discovering Qatar: Cultural Tours

Beyond the confines of the festival venue, QIAF offered international participants a glimpse of the rich cultural tapestry of Qatar. Cultural Tours exploring museums, the city of Doha, and the desert safari allowed artists to immerse themselves in the heritage and beauty of the State of Qatar.

Fashion with Purpose: Artistic Fashion Show

One of the festival's most anticipated events was the Artistic Fashion Show held on November 24th, 2023. Attended by over 3,000 people, the show unfolded in four parts, each with a theme centered on sustainability and the environment. The creative prowess of DPS Modern Indian School students and faculties was showcased in a sustainable fashion show, while the live mannequin fashion show featured QIAF participants.

A Grand Finale: Award and Felicitation Ceremony

The festival crescendoed to its grand finale on November 25th, 2023, with the Award and Felicitation Ceremony. Ms. Fatema Al Sulaiti, Director of International Cooperation at Qatar Museums and Vice Chair of ICOM Qatar, along with esteemed guest Mr Mugahid Mohammed from Expo2023 Doha, Mr Salem Al Marri- PR Manager from Katara Cultural Village, Ms. Guiomar Payo- Program Coordination officer UNESCO Qatar, and Dr. Waseem- Country Director British Council Qatar, were felicitated for their remarkable contributions to the world of arts. All the participating Galleries, and QIAF 2023 participating participants were felicitated during the ceremony.

Concluding Statement: A Harmonious Farewell to QIAF 2023

As the curtains descended on the 5th Edition of the Qatar International Art Festival, the resonating echoes of creativity, collaboration, and cultural unity lingered in the air. The festival, a kaleidoscope of artistic expression, transcended boundaries, bringing together artists, thinkers, and art enthusiasts from around the world.

In her concluding statement, Ms. Rashmi Agarwal expressed gratitude for the memories created and the collective success achieved. "I am sure the extravaganza will become, for you all, a cherished memory, a snapshot that you will showcase for the rest of your lives," she remarked. This sentiment encapsulated the enduring impact of QIAF, where art became a conduit for shared experiences, fostering a global community bound by the love of creativity.

QIAF 2023 was not merely a festival; it was a testament to the transformative power of art, a beacon illuminating the path towards a more interconnected and culturally enriched world. As the art world reflects on the memories and inspiration garnered during these six days, the legacy of QIAF continues to resonate, promising a future where art knows no boundaries, and the spirit of creativity knows no limits.



bottom of page