Cai Guo Qiang’s Awe-Inspiring Work Now at Doha’s Arab Museum of Modern Art in Qatar


I recently visited the Mathaf aka the Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha Qatar for the incredibly spectacular Cai Guo Qiang exhibition. The museum is known for its collection of modern art for the region and regularly hosts artists from around the world, whether its art by Arab artists or those who may offer an Arab perspective on international modern and contemporary art.

The founder of the museum is H.E. Sheikh Hassan bin Mohamed bin Ali Al Thani whose mission was to build a collection that could serve artists and public as a rich and representative treasure-house of modern Arab art.

I was impressed by their commitment, collections and who has been inside their walls. Currently on exhibit until the end of May is world renowned Chinese artist Cia Guo Qiang. I was not familiar with his work before seeing his collection in Doha and was blown away by his technique and his results.

He’s known for his “gunpowder’ techniques. While living in Japan from 1986 to 1995, he explored the properties of gunpowder in his drawings, an inquiry that eventually led to his experimentation with explosives on a massive scale and to the development of his signature explosion events.

Drawing upon Eastern philosophy and contemporary social issues as a conceptual basis, these projects and events aim to establish an exchange between viewers and the larger universe around them, utilizing a site-specific approach to culture and history.

His work has been shown worldwide…Cai’s retrospective I Want to Believe showed at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York and his Peasant Da Vincis, opened in May 2010 as the inaugural exhibition of the Rockbund Art Museum in Shanghai. Cai also created Odyssey, a permanent gunpowder drawing for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston in Fall 2010. Installed as part of the museum’s ongoing Portal Project, it is one of his largest gunpowder drawings to date.

Take a look at the intricate detail that he has been able to achieve. His miniature series includes eight gunpowder drawings especially for Doha. (not everything in this collection is specifically for this exhibition however0. Volunteers prepared and cut stencils and fabric samples. Gunpowder was then ignited directly onto the stencils and samples to transfer the designs to paper.

Inspired by Islamic miniature paintings and the embroidered trim on Qatari women’s abayas, the richly decorative designs in the series question the roles of ornament in art, creation in destruction, and the artist as the sole creator of an artwork.























The below are some of the paintings of women in a series that stretched across one wall.

















































More from the same technique, colors, style…
























































Gunpowder was exploded onto elaborately sculpted porcelain. This kind of porcelain, manufactured near the artist’s hometown, was historically traded by sea to the Arab world. The juxtaposition of gunpowder and porcelain suggests a fragility in human relationships, whether between individuals, nations or cultures.














































Renee Blodgett
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.
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