Fundación Banco Santander is proud to present the exhibition Looking at the World Around You: Contemporary Works from Qatar Museums, which will be on display at the Santander Art Gallery from 9 February to 19 June 2016. The show, featuring selected works from the collections of Qatar Museums, is a celebration of modern and contemporary art that attempts to illustrate the Arab world’s perspective on the international art scene.
This reaffirms our commitment to the foundation’s exhibition policy — adopted seven years ago now — of bringing major international collections of contemporary art to the Santander Art Gallery in order to give Spanish audiences the opportunity to discover them, while also supporting artistic production and collecting.
On this occasion, the majority of the works in the show come from the collection of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, in Doha: 160 pieces in total, which are related to the Arab world not only because most of their creators were born in Arab countries but also because of their connection with Qatar. The selection clearly shows how artistic creation establishes a shared point of reference, bridging the gap between different geographical and socio-political spheres.
The exhibition aims to review the history of Arab modern and contemporary art through the gaze. How we look at the world around us is the central idea that guided the curator, Abdellah Karroum, in the process of choosing and connecting the portraits, photographs, sculptures and installations that comprise this show.
In order to make contemporary art more accessible and understandable for all audiences, Fundación Banco Santander also offers workshop-tours for families, school activities and special tours for visitors with cognitive diversity.
We would like to thank, first of all, H.E. Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums, for the generous loan of these artworks; and Abdellah Karroum, Director of Mathaf, for his curatorial efforts and the admirable dedication with which both he and his team have worked to make this project a reality. We are deeply indebted to Qatar Museums for allowing us to host the first exhibition of part of its important collection in Spain, an event that will undoubtedly increase the interest in and understanding of Arab contemporary art in our country.