Qatar and Indonesia to Join in Yearlong Creative Exchange in 2023 through Qatar Museums’ Years of Culture Initiative

Year of Culture 2023 to Support for the Development of Indonesia’s Creative and Cultural Economy in Fast-Growing Emerging Market

Qatar-Indonesia 2023 Year of Culture opening ceremony in Doha with Qatar Museums Chairperson, Her Excellency Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and His Excellency Indonesian Ambassador to Qatar Ridwan Hassan

DOHA, Qatar, March 12, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Qatar Museums (QM) today announced the program for the QatarIndonesia 2023 Year of Culture, which will feature a host of performances, exhibitions, sporting and culinary events, photography projects, residency and volunteer programs, and more. Inaugurated in 2012 by QM Chairperson Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Years of Culture initiative is an annual bilateral exchange that deepens the understanding between Qatar and another nation and its people through a year of cultural programming.

In a special focus this year based on Qatar’s experience in developing its creative and cultural economy, the QatarIndonesia 2023 Year of Culture will include an emphasis on projects that will enhance the creative and cultural industries in both countries with a focus on sustainable, long-term partnerships. In Qatar, Qatar Museums has been at the center of building the country’s cultural infrastructure, opening new possibilities for the nation’s people and economy by nurturing the creative and cultural industries, which make up an ever-larger portion of the global GDP. This sector represents an especially strategic investment for emerging economies such as that of Indonesia, where the creative and cultural economy already accounts for 7% of the country’s GDP and is expected to grow, according to the Indonesian Agency for the Creative Economy.

Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani said, “This year for Qatar Years of Culture we turn our eyes east toward Indonesia, a vast nation whose vivid, multilayered culture has been born of many centuries of global crosscurrents. There is much that our two nations can recognize in one another, including our role in the Muslim world, and much that we share. We look forward to an exciting year of cultural exchanges, in which we both continue to develop our burgeoning creative and cultural industries.”

His Excellency Indonesian Ambassador to Qatar Ridwan Hassan said, “Indonesia and Qatar have enjoyed excellent relations based on common faith and mutual interests. Today, our world needs such multilateral cooperation more than ever and it begins with empowering our people to interact, learn and celebrate each other. This is why Years of Culture programs are crucial to strengthening ties between nations. Indonesia welcomes the opportunity to celebrate our robust partnership with Qatar through the QatarIndonesia 2023 Year of Culture.”

Aisha Ghanem Al Attiya, Director of Cultural Diplomacy for Qatar Museums, said, “The Indonesian national motto of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, Unity in Diversity, perfectly expresses the spirit of the QatarIndonesia 2023 Year of Culture. Through our many programs, to be held in both nations, we will weave together a tapestry of relationships that are as varied as they are strong and resilient.”

New Southeast Asia Galleries Open at MIA as Part of Official Qatar-Indonesia 2023 Opening

The year officially kicked off with a reception at the Museum of Islamic Art, which houses a spectacular collection of Indonesian artefacts in new galleries dedicated to Southeast Asia (17 and 18). The galleries will open to the public today (March 12).

The galleries remind visitors that the region today is home to the largest Muslim community worldwide, highlighting the connection between different cultures through exhibits on the trade of commodities and the exchange of ideas across the Islamic World and beyond. Displays feature beautiful Indonesian gold jewelry and textiles.

MIA Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs Shaika Nasser Al-Nassr explained that: “At MIA, we tell the story of the spread of Islam around the world and its influence on art and culture. The new MIA makes that story complete with the addition of galleries on the Indian Ocean region and Southeast Asia.”

Showcasing Shared Passions and Traditions

Ramadan will offer an opportunity to embark on special culinary journeys in both countries. Indonesian chefs will infuse traditional ingredients into menus of several restaurants in Qatar during Ramadan, while special culinary demonstrations will take place at the Qatar International Food Festival. At the same time, Qatari cuisine and traditional celebrations like Garangao will make their way to Indonesia. Collaboration around the shared passion for food will continue over the summer when two Qatari and Indonesian chefs travel across Indonesia on a culinary journey.

The Years of Culture has also partnered with Reach Out to Asia (ROTA) to organize a volunteer trip for a group of young people from Qatar to work with school children in Indonesia.

A special theatrical presentation of HAYATI (Tree of Life): Searching for The Essence of Love, organized and presented by Indonesia’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology. Created especially for this Year of Culture will be presenting in Qatar this year. The production will be a visually stunning exploration of the ties between personal identity and cultural traditions.

In Indonesia, participants from both nations will join in a cycling tour to the world’s largest Buddhist temple in Borobudur, located in Central Java. The tour will culminate with a festive dinner and the presentation of a traditional Qatari performance, highlighting the shared passion of the two cultures for sport, cuisine, and the performing arts.

The longest-running exchange program of the Qatar Years of Culture program, the Photography Journey, will be organized this year with the support of the Jakarta International Photography Festival (JIPFEST). A pair of Qatari and Indonesian photographers will capture images of traditional practices, documenting and preserving intangible cultural heritage in both countries. An exhibition of photographs by the participants will be presented in Qatar and Indonesia later in the year.

In the fall of 2023, the Years of Culture team is set to organize a cultural extravaganza in Qatar celebrating shared traditions of craftsmanship and hospitality. Major events will celebrate vibrant cultural traditions in both Qatar and Indonesia during the Workshop Month (September), a special exhibition celebrating the two nations’ shared appreciation for the rituals of hospitality and coffee-making at the National Museum of Qatar (October), participation in the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (October) and the return of the annual Cultural Festival at Flag Plaza celebrating Indonesia as this year’s partner (November), as well as film screenings in both countries.

Amplifying the Emerging Artistic Voices of Qatar and Indonesia

The year’s special emphasis of fostering the creative and cultural industries will be carried out through three-month-long residency programs, pairing Qatari and Indonesian designers to encourage direct engagement between emerging talent from both countries. These collaborative residencies will provide opportunities for Qatari product and fashion designers to discover traditional Indonesian craftsmanship from local masters in jewelry design and metalworking and embroidery. Mentors and locations were carefully selected from regions of Indonesia best known for these specific areas of expertise: Tasikmalaya (embroidery) and Sumba (metal ornamentation).

Each residency will challenge participants to consider issues of waste management and sustainability in their choice of materials and designs.

Final products will be introduced at prestigious festivals celebrating Indonesian culture and design, including the Indonesian Contemporary Art and Design (ICAD) festival in October-November 2023, Jakarta Fashion Week in October 2023, as well as a monumental year-end exhibition at the National Gallery in Indonesia.

Artworks by some of Qatar’s brightest emerging contemporary artists will travel to Indonesia as part of the ARTJOG 2023 festival, which asks participating artists to reveal the intent and motivation behind their work through various interactions, discussions, and silahturahmi (a concept based on Islamic practices about keeping or mending ties between family or kin adopted by Muslin communities in Indonesia) with artists.

Additional community events and celebrations will be announced throughout the year on Years of Culture social media pages and website at

About Years of Culture

Culture is one of the most effective tools to bring people closer together, encourage dialogue, and deepen understanding between nations.

Under the leadership of its Chairperson Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Qatar Museums (QM) developed the annual “Years of Culture” initiative – an international cultural exchange that deepens understanding between nations and their people. Though formal programming lasts only one year, the ties of friendship that are strengthened and formed are long-lasting.

QatarIndonesia 2023 Year of Culture has been developed in collaboration with leading organizations in Qatar, including Doha Film Institute, Education Above All, Katara Cultural Village, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Qatar Charity, Qatar Cycling Federation, Qatar Foundation, Qatar Museums, Qatar National Library, Qatar Tourism, with assistance from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology of the Republic of Indonesia, Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Qatar and the Embassy of the State of Qatar in Indonesia.

Previous Years of Culture have included: QatarJapan 2012, Qatar-UK 2013, QatarBrazil 2014, Qatar-Türkiye 2015, QatarChina 2016, QatarGermany 2017, QatarRussia 2018, QatarIndia 2019, QatarFrance 2020, and QatarUSA 2021. In celebration of its 10th anniversary, the 2022 Year of Culture celebrated the entire Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) region as Qatar welcomed the world for the Arab region’s first FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.

Past sponsors include Qatar Airways, Vodafone, Qatar Gas, Shell, Ooredoo, Shangri-La Hotel and Resorts, Lulu Group International, Qatar Financial Centre, Qatar Petroleum, and ExxonMobil.

About Qatar Museums

Qatar Museums (QM), the nation’s preeminent institution for art and culture, provides authentic and inspiring cultural experiences through a growing network of museums, heritage sites, festivals, public art installations, and programs. QM preserves, restores, and expands the nation’s cultural offerings and historical sites, sharing art and culture from Qatar, the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia (MENASA) region with the world and enriching the lives of citizens, residents, and visitors.

Under the patronage of His Highness the Amir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and led by its Chairperson, Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, QM has made Qatar a vibrant centre for the arts, culture, and education in the Middle East and beyond. QM is integral to the goal of developing an innovative, diverse, and progressive nation, bringing people together to ignite new thinking, spark critical cultural conversations, educate and encourage environmental stewardship and sustainable practices, and amplify the voices of Qatar’s people. Since its founding in 2005, QM has overseen the Museum of Islamic Art and MIA Park, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, the National Museum of Qatar, QM Gallery Al Riwaq, QM Gallery Katara, and 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum. Museums under development include Dadu, Children’s Museum of Qatar; Qatar Auto Museum; Art Mill Museum, and the Lusail Museum.

Through its newly created Creative Hub, QM also initiates and supports projects—such as the Fire Station Artist in Residence, the Tasweer Qatar Photo Festival and the creative hub for innovation, fashion and design M7— that nurture artistic talent and create opportunities to build a strong and sustainable cultural infrastructure.

Animating everything that Qatar Museums does is an authentic connection to Qatar and its heritage, a steadfast commitment to inclusivity and accessibility, and a belief in creating value through invention.


Qatar Museums
Twitter: @YearsofCulture | Instagram: @YearsofCulture  | Facebook: @YearsofCulture



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