Last month Doha celebrated its National Day; a wonderful ceremony that embodied the spirit of solidarity and loyalty in this fine nation. Today, however it is celebrating being the Capital of Arab Culture for the year 2010; a celebration that will last for the year ahead and will be full of various activities and festivals. It will attract not only Arab nationals but also an international audience as it sheds light on Qatar’s cultural identity. Doha will be a platform to promote the dialogue between people and to highlight Qatar’s cultural role in the regional and international arena.

The idea of the Capitals of Arab Culture originated from the UN- UNESCO in the year 1994. The first chosen capital was Cairo in 1996, then Tunisia 1997, Sharjah 1998, Beirut 1999, Riyadh 2000, Kuwait 2001, Amman 2002, Rabat, 2003, Sana'a 2004, Khartoum 2005, Muscat 2006, Algeria 2007, Damascus 2008, and finally Jerusalem in 2009. Now, and in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030, the Cultural Village was established; a spectacular architectural masterpiece that overlooks the Arabian Gulf and which is a dream come true to Qatari intellectuals and artists. A place that will emphasize local identity in this world of globalization, the Cultural Village will promote local culture, as well as support inventors and intellectuals.

The organizers behind the Qatari Capital of Culture preparations and events promise a year full of surprises in the areas of writing, poetry, cinema, sports, theater, plastic arts and opera. The celebration will also attract international revue groups and hold various exhibitions at the Museum of Islamic Art and other venues, in addition to many other events. The following are some activities that are scheduled to take place in the first quarter of 2010:

Doha 2010

Performance Arts:

  • Play: The Pearl Between "Dasha" and "Gaffal." Venue: Cultural Village. Date: Jan. 29 – Feb. 02.
  • Opera: "Abu Al-Qassim Al-Shabi – The New Morning." Venue: To be determined later. Check for more information. Date: Feb. 20.
  • Troupe Show: The Bharati Indian Troupe. Venue: To be determined later. Check for more info. Date: Feb. 26.
  • Musical: Salaheddien Al-Ayoubi. Venue: Roman Theatre – Cultural Village. Date: Mar. 4.
  • Troupe Show: "Kajal" Russian Ballet Troupe. Venue: National Theatre of Qatar. Date Mar. 27.
  • Play: The Black Century. Venue: Qatar National Theatre. Date: Mar. 14-16.
  • Carnival of Doha Marine Festival. Venue: The Corniche. Date: Feb. 7.

Visual Arts:

  • Exhibition: The Pearl Exhibition. Venue: The M.I.A. Date: Jan. 29 – April 30.
  • Qatar Marine Festival: Sand Sculptures. Venue: Cultural Village – The beach. Date: Jan. 1 – Feb. 7.
  • Exhibition: "Poetry Knights" by Qatari Painter Jassim Zini. Venue: Visual Arts Center – Cultural Village. Date Feb. 2 – 9.
  • Exhibition: "My Father's Home" Organized by the British Council. Venue: Souq Waqif Gallery. Date: Feb. 23 – March. 16.
  • Exhibition: Binaly's Calligraphy Exhibition. Venue:  Waqif Arts Centre. Date: Feb. 3 – April 1.
  • Exhibition: The Private Collection of the Italian Actress Lollo Brigida. Venue: Four seasons Hotel. Date: March 9 – 13.

Doha 2010Musical Events:

  • The Syrian National Children Symphony. Venue: National Theatre of Qatar. Date: Feb. 9.
  • Japanese Drams Troupe. Venue: Qatar National Theatre. Date: Feb. 13-16.
  • The Symphony Orchestra of the Polish National Radio. Venue: National Theatre of Qatar. Date: March 16.
  • Salem Abdul Karim's Symphonic Orchestra. Venue: Ritz-Cartlon Hotel. Date: March 31.

Heritage Events:

  • Sailing Contest for Traditional Dhows. Venue: The Corniche. Date: Jan. 30.
  • Pearl Diving. Venue: Open Water. Date: Feb. 5.
  • Marine Arts Evening. Venue: Heritage Village – The Corniche. Date: Feb. 4.
  • Popular Traditional Games. Venue: Heritage Village – The Corniche. Date: Feb. 18-19.
  • Women's Traditional Songs. Venue: Heritage Village – The Corniche. Date: Feb. 25.

To download the full list and details of the events taken place in the first quarter of 2010, click here.

Fahad Al-Maawda

Images: Doha 2010

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