H.E. Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani
Chairperson Qatar Museums
Sheikha Al Mayassa Bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani is engaged in the fields of formal and informal education. She is Chairperson of Qatar Museums, Doha Film Institute, Reach Out to Asia, and Qatar Leadership Centre. In having the privilege to serve her country in multiple fields – among them culture, leadership, education, and philanthropy – she has been able to facilitate conversations across borders and fields. As a public servant, her objective is to invest in Qatar’s local community and celebrate the country’s diversity using the visual arts as a vehicle for communication. Her current interests are in human development, cultural regionalism, environmental stewardship and sustainability, and economic growth using culture as a catalyst for education, dialogue, and exchange. Through her public work and support of the Qatar Vision 2030, she is building an exciting creative future for the country that will connect artistic communities in all areas of culture.
Through her work as Chairperson of Qatar Museums, Sheikha Al Mayassa connects and amplifies the nation's growing network of museums, heritage sites, festivals, public art installations, and programmes. Qatar Museums provides authentic and inspiring cultural experiences, spearheads innovative research and environmental education through exhibitions and programing, and preserves and expands the nation’s cultural offerings, sharing art and culture from the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia (MENASA) region with the world and enriching the lives of citizens, residents, and visitors. QM also initiates and supports projects that nurture artistic talent and create opportunities to build a strong and sustainable cultural infrastructure.
Doha Film Institute
Sheikha Al Mayassa founded the Doha Film Institute (DFI) with the aim of building a dynamic film industry in Qatar and nurturing regional storytellers. DFI is dedicated to film appreciation, financing, and education. Recognizing the importance of film as a form of creative expression and community solidarity, Sheikha Al Mayassa has conceived of the Doha Film Institute as an all-encompassing hub for the art of cinema. DFI hosts the annual Ajyal Film Festival in Katara Cultural Village, the mentorship program Qumra, and workshops for both professionals and amateurs, while serving as a resource that is global in scope.
Qatar Leadership Centre
H.E. Sheikha Al Mayassa is Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Qatar Leadership Centre (QLC). Established in 2010 by Amiri Decree as a national platform for leadership excellence, its mandate is to advance the achievement of development goals by providing customized executive education to Qatari professionals from a range of public institutions and private sector enterprises across Qatar. More than 700 alumni have completed QLC’s National Leadership Program, conducted in partnership with leading universities. Its Institutional Programs have provided specialized managerial training for major governmental organizations since 2014. An executive master’s degree in leadership completes the offerings.
Reach Out to Asia
In addition to her domestic focus, Sheikha Al Mayassa works to provide quality education to those in need farther afield. She serves as the chairperson of Reach Out to Asia (ROTA), which envisions a world where all young people have access to the resources they require to realize their potential. With its partners, ROTA works to ensure that people affected by crisis across Asia have continuing access to high-quality primary and secondary education.
Among her other leadership roles, Sheikha Al Mayassa is Co-Chairperson of the Joint Advisory Board of Georgetown University Qatar, Co-Chairperson of Fashion Trust Arabia, Vice-Chairperson of Education Above All, and a Member of the Qatar Foundation Board of Trustees. She is also a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Rhode Island School of Design; a Founding Member of the Environmental Council of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; a Member of the Collections Council of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; and a Member of the Board of Advisors of Common Sense Media.
Jeff Koons was born in York, Pennsylvania in 1955. He studied at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He received a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 1976. Koons lives and works in New York City.
Since his first solo exhibition in 1980, Koons’s work has been shown in major galleries and institutions throughout the world. His work was the subject of a major exhibition organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, Jeff Koons: A Retrospective (June 27 - October 19, 2014), which traveled to the Centre Pompidou Paris (November 26, 2014 - April 27, 2015) and the Guggenheim Bilbao (June 9 - September 27, 2015). Recent exhibitions include Appearance Stripped Bare: Desire and Object in the Work of Marcel Duchamp and Jeff Koons, Even; Jeff Koons at the Ashmolean; and Jeff Koons: Mucem. Works from the Pinault Collection. Jeff Koons. Shine is currently on view at Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, Italy (October 2, 2021 - January 30, 2022).
Koons is widely known for his iconic sculptures Rabbit and Balloon Dog as well as the monumental floral sculpture Puppy (1992), shown at Rockefeller Center and permanently installed at the Guggenheim Bilbao. Another floral sculpture, Split-Rocker (2000), previously installed at the Papal Palace in Avignon, Château de Versailles, and Fondation Beyeler in Basel, was most recently on view at Rockefeller Center in 2014.
Jeff Koons has received numerous awards and honors in recognition of his cultural achievements. Notably, Koons received the Governor’s Awards for the Arts “Distinguished Arts Award” from the Pennsylvania Council on the Art; President Jacques Chirac promoted Koons to Officier de la Legion d’Honneur; Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton honored Koons with the State Department’s Medal of the Arts for his outstanding commitment to the Art in Embassies Program and international cultural exchange; and Consul General Ragini Gupta presented Koons the U.S. Consulate General’s Award for Cultural Diplomacy in Florence. In 2017, Koons was made the first Artist-in-Residence at Columbia University’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute and, also, made an Honorary Member of University of Oxford's Edgar Wind Society for Outstanding Contribution for Visual Culture. Koons has been a board member of The International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC) since 2002, and co-founded the Koons Family International Law and Policy Institute with ICMEC; for the purpose of combating global issues of child abduction and exploitation and to protect the world’s children.
Sheikha Reem Al-Thani
Acting Deputy CEO of Exhibitions and Marketing Director of Central Exhibitions Qatar Museums
Sheikha Reem Al-Thani is the Acting Deputy CEO of Exhibitions and Marketing and the Director of Central Exhibitions at Qatar Museums (QM). She leads a comprehensive team of museum professionals, serving all museums and galleries under the QM umbrella. Sheikha Reem Al-Thani also oversees the development and implementation of QM's expansive schedule of exhibitions, Publications, Public art, and marketing and events. That brings world-class programming to Qatar and introduce Qatar's culture and emerging art scene to the rest of the world. She has recently overseen the development of several successful exhibitions, including Kaws: He Eats Alone, Making Doha: 1950- 2030 in 2019, Contemporary Art Qatar in St. Petersburg and Berlin 2018/2017, and Picasso-Giacometti in Qatar in 2017.
Before her current role, Sheikha Reem Al-Thani was Head of Exhibition Design, responsible for designing and producing all temporary exhibitions organized by QM. Before joining the QM Exhibitions Department, she was an Exhibition Designer at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art. During her time at Mathaf, she had the opportunity to work with notable professionals worldwide and develop her skills in international museum exhibition design.
Sheikha Reem Al-Thani is also a multidisciplinary designer who works on activating space through a human approach to design. In 2015, she became the first Qatari to hold a Master's in Design in Adaptive Reuse Interior Architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design. Before that, she graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar in 2010 with a double major in Interior Design and Fashion Design.
Elif Shafak is an award-winning British-Turkish novelist. She writes in both Turkish and English, and has published 18 books, 11 of which are novels. Her work has been translated into 55 languages. Her latest novel, “10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World,” was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize, and chosen as Blackwell’s fiction book of the year in 2019. Her previous novel, “The Forty Rules of Love,” was named among the BBC’s 100 novels that shaped our world.
Ms. Shafak holds a Ph.D. in political science and has taught at various universities in Turkey, the US and the UK, including St Anne's College, Oxford University, where she is an honorary fellow. She is a fellow and a vice president of the Royal Society of Literature. She is also a member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on the Creative Economy, and a founding member of the European Council on Foreign Relations.
Ms. Shafak is an advocate for women's rights, LGBTQ+ rights and freedom of speech. She is frequently invited to share her views at leading events and is a three-time TEDGlobal speaker. She contributes to major publications around the world, and has been honored with the medal of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. She was chosen by Politico as one of its “Delightful Dozen” – the 12 people who will give you a much-needed lift of the heart in 2017. She has also judged numerous literary prizes and chaired the Wellcome Book Prize, and is presently judging the PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature.
Artistic Director Acute Art
Daniel Birnbaum (b. 1963) is a Swedish art critic, theoretician, curator, and the former Director of the Museum of Modern Art (Moderna Museet) in Stockholm. He is now the Artistic Director of Acute Art in London.
From 1989 until 1997, Birnbaum worked as an art critic at the leading Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter and also as an independent curator. In 1998, he obtained his doctoral degree from Stockholm University. Birnbaum is a contributing editor to Artforum and has written extensively on art and philosophy. Birnbaum has also worked as a director of IASPIS (The Swedish Arts Grants Committee's International Programme for Visual Artists). In 2000, Birnbaum became Director at Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main.
Birnbaum was a co-curator of the international section at the Venice Biennale (2003) and the artistic director of the 53rd Venice Biennale (2009). He also worked as co-curator of the first and second Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art (2005 and 2007) and was a member of the jury for the Turner Prize (2008). In 2008, Birnbaum co-founded the Zero Foundation in Düsseldorf. In 2010, he became the Director of the Moderna Museet.
Alongside Isabelle Graw, Birnbaum is the Editor of the Institut für Kunstkritik series. Birnbaum also recently joined the Hilma af Klint Foundation as an adjunct member of the board and special advisor.
Deputy Director, Curatorial and Chief Curator M+
Doryun Chong oversees all curatorial activities and programmes at M+, including acquisitions, exhibitions, learning and public programmes, and digital initiatives encompassing the museum’s three main disciplinary areas of design and architecture, moving image, and visual art, as well as the thematic area of Hong Kong visual culture. Since joining M+ as the inaugural Chief Curator in 2013, Doryun has led the transformative growth of the M+ Collections and steered the curatorial direction and pedagogical practices of the museum’s exhibitions and programmes to foreground the transcultural and transnational narratives of twentieth- and twenty-first-century visual culture.
Prior to joining M+, Doryun worked in various curatorial capacities at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco (1999–2000), the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis (2003–2009), and the Museum of Modern Art in New York (2009–2013), curating several landmark exhibitions including major retrospectives of Tetsumi Kudo, Huang Yong Ping, and Haegue Yang, and the post-war survey Tokyo 1955–1970: A New Avant-Garde (2012). He also coordinated the Korean Pavilion at the 49th Venice Biennale in 2001.
Doryun has served on numerous award juries and public panels across Asia, North America, and Europe.
Artistic Director, New Museum and Curator of "Jeff Koons: Lost in America", Al Riwaq, Doha
Massimiliano Gioni is the Artistic Director of the New Museum in New York City and the Director of the Nicola Trussardi Foundation in Milan. He has curated numerous international exhibitions including the Venice Biennale, which he directed in 2013, the Gwangju Biennale (2010), the Berlin Biennale (2006), and Manifesta 5 (2004).
He has recently curated a major retrospective of George Condo's work for the Long Museum in Shanghai, and was part of the curatorial team - with Naomi Beckwith, Glenn Ligon and Mark Nash - that staged the exhibition "Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America", originally conceived by legendary curator Okwui Enwezor for the New Museum.
For Qatar Museum, Gioni is curating the survey exhibition "Jeff Koons: Lost in America", currently on view at Al Riwaq in Doha. Gioni was the curator of Takashi Murakami's exhibition "Ego" in Doha in 2012, the first major exhibition by an international artist to be staged in Qatar.
Mareva Grabowski - Mitsotakis
Mareva Grabowski – Mitsotakis is the co-founder of Zeus+Dione, a collection of handmade, high quality products based on refined craftsmanship. She is also the founder of Endeavor Greece, a global non-profit organization aiming at identifying and supporting local entrepreneurs.
Mareva spent 12 years in the investment banking and asset management divisions at Deutsche Bank (1995-2007). In 2007 she founded MG Capital Advisors S.A., an independent advisory firm focused on advising corporate (Deutsche Bank) and private clients in portfolio management. And, in 2010, Mareva founded Eternia Capital, an asset management firm which focused on hedge fund investments.
Mareva is a keen advocate of NGOs that aim to reduce plastic pollution (Common Seas, AC Laskaridis Charitable Foundation). She supports advocacy initiatives to inform and combat domestic violence (Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs).
Mareva holds a BA in Political Science and History from Boston College, an MIA from Columbia University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Mareva is a member of the Asia Pacific Acquisitions Committee at the TATE Modern, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Athens Biennale, a member of the Contemporary Art Support Committee of the Museum of Cycladic Art and a member of Greece’s Craftsmanship Council
Founder and President kamel mennour
Born in 1965, Kamel Mennour, a graduate in Economics, started his career as a gallery owner late in life. In 1999, he embarked on the adventure of contemporary art without any connection to the field. Today, his eponymous gallery represents over 40 artists and presents their work through exhibitions across its five spaces (four in Paris and one in London) and beyond.
The essence of the gallery is to discover and gain recognition for exceptional artists through collaboration. It has fostered the careers of a younger generation including Neïl Beloufa, Mohamed Bourouissa, Latifa Echakhch, Petrit Halilaj, Camille Henrot, and Alicja Kwade, alongside representing some of the most renowned artists working today such as Daniel Buren, Anish Kapoor, Tadashi Kawamata and Lee Ufan.
Kamel Mennour supports numerous projects of these artists in France and abroad, and collaborates with major international institutions such as the Centre Pompidou, the Musée d’Art moderne de Paris, the Palais de Tokyo, the Palace of Versailles, the Tate Modern, the Guggenheim, the MoMA, the Dia Foundation and the Pushkin Museum. He also encourages research work, through his publishing house and the release of monographs, and the organization of debates and panels involving artists, critics and curators.
Hans Ulrich Obrist
Artistic Director Serpentine Galleries in London
Hans Ulrich Obrist (b. 1968, Zurich, Switzerland) is Artistic Director of the Serpentine Galleries in London, Senior Advisor at LUMA Arles, and Senior Artistic Advisor at The Shed in New York. Prior to this, he was the Curator of the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. Since his first show ‘World Soup (The Kitchen Show)’ in 1991, he has curated more than 350 exhibitions, his recent shows include IT'S URGENT at LUMA Arles (2019-2021), and Enzo Mari at Triennale Milano (2020).
In 2011 Obrist received the CCS Bard Award for Curatorial Excellence, and in 2015 he was awarded the International Folkwang Prize, and most recently he was honoured by the Appraisers Association of America with the 2018 Award for Excellence in the Arts Obrist’s recent publications include Ways of Curating (2015), The Age of Earthquakes (2015), Lives of the Artists, Lives of Architects (2015), Mondialité (2017), Somewhere Totally Else (2018) The Athens Dialogues (2018), Maria Lassnig: Letters (2020), Entrevistas Brasileiras: Volume 2 (2020), An Exhibition Always Hides Another Exhibition (2019), The Extreme Self: Age of You (2021), and Remember Nature (2021).
New Media Artist and Assistant Professor ,VCUarts
Hadeer Omar is an Egyptian new media artist, designer, and educator. Omar holds an MFA in Design and BFA in Graphic Design. Her work explores cultural identity and memories, the self, and narratives artfully through immersive XR media and technologies, graphics, photography, and video art installations. She currently serves as an Assistant Professor at VCUarts in Qatar, and a former artist in residence at Doha Fire Station program in Qatar. Her work has been showcased in Egypt, Qatar, San Francisco, Austria, Bulgaria, Dubai, France and Berlin.
Omar's passion for documentary storytelling and cultural movements crosses disciplines within art, immersive technology, new digital media, photography, and film, as a means of presenting stories through her work. She found her way by utilizing digital and analog tools, to observe her surroundings, document her process, and build a body of work that tells stories.
Barnaby Francis (aka Bill Posters)
Artist-Researcher, Author and Facilitator
Working under the pseudonym Bill Posters, Barnaby Francis (b. 1983) is an artist-researcher, author and facilitator who is interested in art as research and critical practice. Posters' His works often interrogate disinformation, persuasion architectures and the power relations that exist in the public space and online. He works collaboratively across the arts, sciences and advocacy fields on conceptual, sculptural, new media, net art, installation and synthetic art.
His works have been shown at Annka Kultys Gallery, London; Berlin University of the Arts, Berlin; Museum Jorn, Silkeborg, Denmark; Artmossphere III Biennale, Moscow; Centre for Museum of Contemporary Art, Barcelona; 50th International Poster Biennale, Warsaw; Architectural Association, London; the Design Museum, London; and Banksy’s “Dismaland.”
In 2019, he founded StudioNeural, the world’s first new media production company to specialize in broadcast-quality synthetic (deepfake) media for long- form TV.
Yana Buhrer Tavanier
Co-founder and Executive Director Fine Acts
Yana Buhrer Tavanier is a creative activist and a social entrepreneur, with a background in investigative journalism. She is the co-founder and Executive Director of Fine Acts, a global non-profit creative studio for social impact. Yana is a TED Senior Fellow, Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and was named one of 50 people who will change the world in WIRED’s Smart List 2012. As a 2018 TED Resident and 2019-2020 Fulbright Scholar in NYC, she explored human rights innovation, and the intersections of activism and art, tech, and science. Her most recent TED talk, viewed close to 2 million times, deals with her concept of playtivism - incorporating multidisciplinary creative play and experimentation in activism.
Yana is also co-founder and Trustee of TimeHeroes.org, the largest volunteer platform in Bulgaria. Her educational background includes BA in Communication and MA in Political Science from Sofia University; and Executive Education at Harvard University, Yale University, and Oxford University.
Habeeb M. Abu-Futtaim
Modern & Contemporary Arab Art Specialist AlBahie Auction House in Qatar
Habeeb M. Abu-Futtaim is a Modern & Contemporary Arab Art Specialist at AlBahie Auction House in Qatar, the first local auction house in the region. Born and brought up in Doha, he holds a BFA in Painting and Printmaking and a minor in Art History from Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar and later pursued Masters in Museum and Gallery Practice from University College London in Qatar. Abu-Futtaim has been leading the Modern and Contemporary Arab Art Auctions at AlBahie that started in 2017 featuring work from some of the most important Arab artists from the early 20th century to present, working along with leading experts, advisors and collectors in the region. As an artist Abu-Futtaim has been a part of several group shows and Biennials in Berlin, Dubai, Doha, Santa Cruz and more alongside notable Arab artists. His work is a part of several collections including the Barjeel Art Foundation, Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Cruz and other private collections.
Graphic designer, illustrator, and lettering artist
Shima Aeinehdar is an Iranian graphic designer, illustrator, and lettering artist holding a BFA in Graphic Design from Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar. Shima’s work focuses on visualizing abstract topics such as personal identity and self-actualization, using Persian typography and illustration with a unique approach to data visualization.
Sara Ahmed AlHelal
Student VCUArts, Qatar
Sara Ahmed AlHelal is a fourth-year student at Virginia Commonwealth University, where she is pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree (BFA) in Graphic Design. She is passionate about typography, lettering, and visual identity. Sara’s work explores multilingualism, literature, cultural diversity as well as creating fun friendships between type and image. Design to her is an iterative and user-driven process, where it’s never completely the work of a single person alone. The process, starting from the user to the finished prototype is a story, where all the characters play a part to let the story unfold seamlessly.
Graphic designer, researcher, and illustrator
Sara Al-Afifi is a graphic designer, researcher, and illustrator based in Doha, Qatar. She has been researching Arab societies’ collective psychology and their perception of oppression, as well as, examining graphic design through the lens of philosophy, orientalism, and revisionist history.
Student VCUArts, Qatar
Hassan Alshehhi, is a young Qatari multidisciplinary artist, currently majoring in fine arts and minoring in art history. His story started as a hobby with drawing flowers at a young age and evolved over the years to where he is now. In his craft, Hassan enjoys mixing materials and testing new things out to get something unordinary and unique to me. The message Hassan tries to paint is shedding light on inner feeling and thoughts, ones that we usually don’t project to others because it’s a taboo subject to discuss, all Hassan wants is to break that notion and create a more positive outlook.
Zainab Al Shibani
Honors BFA Graduate VCUArts, Qatar
Zainab Al Shibani is an Honors BFA Graduate from Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar. Exploring Mysticism and contemplation within Arabic letterforms, Zainab is passionate about creating pieces that deal with dream-like ideations of life, gender, self, and creative work.
Student HBKU College of Law
Nour Elbasuni is a multidisciplinary artist whose work explores contemporary notions of socialization, gender, and sociocultural identity in the region. Nour is an alumna of VCU arts in Qatar, and a current student at HBKU college of law.
Ece Omayma Yigit
Student VCUArts, Qatar.
Ece Omayma Yigit lives in Doha, Qatar, from her homeland Turkey/Ankara. She graduated with a British high school diploma and is currently enrolled in her senior year of PAPR at the University of Virginia Commonwealth School of the Arts in Qatar. Ece has taken it to be her mission to begin her independent artistic journeys at young ages and by far it has taken her to working with a few governmental companies in Qatar, commissioned to create paintings for their interiors. Ece has also participated in some gallery exhibitions around the country, and now she practices leading workshops and training as a teacher as one of her goals is to become a part of an academic institution for arts. She is currently working on her own line of artworks to find her calling within her practise. Her inspirations began from a very young age that comes from connecting with the society and its people. It is a connection stemmed from her love of psychology and understanding the human mind and its relation to nature versus nurture. Her line of work is mainly acrylic and oil paints of canvases that she stretches herself as she enjoys every part of the process into creating her work.