Bouthayna Al Muftah - EMERGEAST
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Bouthayna Al Muftah
b. 1987, Qatar

"The arts especially address the idea of aesthetic experience. An aesthetic experience is on in which your senses are operating at their peak; when you're present in the current moment; when you're resonating with the excitement of this thing that you're experiencing, when you are fully alive." - Ken Robinson

Bouthayna Al Muftah is a Qatari visual artist that received a Bachelor of Arts from Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts Qatar in 2009. Upon her graduation, Al Muftah directed her artistic practice to printmaking, typography and documentation which evolved over the years into large scale installations and performance pieces. The core inspiration behind her artistic production is her country’s cultural heritage where she borrows elements from the people of Qatar’s oral history and folklore and readapts them to reflect her relationship with her land’s past.

Al Muftah’s fascination of all facets within the context of her country’s memories has led her to develop her research and reflect on life in the old neighborhoods of Qatar and the people who shaped them. As an approach to resuscitate and reconstruct past moments into contemporary settings, she often finds characters and stories from these neighborhoods that transform in her own universe into the abstract figurative results seen in her work today. Al Muftah gradually turned to conceptual documentation through book binding as a way to express the story of Qatar’s past through her eyes — immortalizing that which was previously lost in the abyss of time.

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Permanent collection of the National Museum of Qatar
International group exhibitions
Esteemed private collections


Artist Statement

Focusing on elements of nature and seeing details differently. I found it amazing how something that you see everyday can look so different, even unrecognizable, when you see a part rather than the whole. I like to translate my ideas and my inspirations in an abstract and less literal way. I would like people to see beauty in the everyday things around them through my artwork. It was through this that I found the link to our local culture. It brought in an element that we are so used to it because we are raised around it, that we forget to see the unique and distinctive qualities embedded within. I like to show my final pieces as though they are a part of my thinking process. I paint with spontaneity and gestural free flowing brushstrokes, aiming to deliver an almost a tangible sentiment in each piece.


Series Statement

The “Lawha Lil-Dawha” series represents Bouthayna’s latest inspirations from her research into her country’s past. Closely studying her country’s modern history, the artist landed on the early 80’s, a time that marked a new dawn in her hometown of Doha. The series is named after the poem “Lawha Lil-Dawha” by Qatari poet Marouf Rafiq. Through Rafiq’s words she is drawn to poetry for her latest embodiment of her land’s history and the faces that occupied that time. This body of work physically represents the words behind this poem, which personifies her home country's growth with splendor and grace.

True to Bouthayna’s practice, she delicately travels to the past and brings back a tale that defines who her homeland is today. Bouthayna’s deconstructing and reconstructing approach shapes the narrative of her work as an archival process of documenting memories and immortalizing them in a time and space capsule.



Selected Exhibitions

2020 'Lived Forward', Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, Qatar
2020 'Doha Jewelry and Watches Exhibition', Doha, Qatar
2020 'Echoes II', Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France
2020 Collaboration with Architects Independent, Doha, Qatar
2019 'Hollow Fragments', Markhiya Gallery, Doha, Qatar
2019 Short film collaboration, Doha Film Institute for United Nations, New York, USA
2019 'Sketchbook', Markhiya Gallery, Katara Art Centre, Doha, Qatar
2019 Commissioned work for Qatar Museums Kan Ya Makkan’ Permanent piece hanging at National Museum of Qatar
2019 Collaboration with Qatar Museums on Marchitecture, Doha, Qatar
2019 Collaboration with David Webb Jewels New York, Doha Jewelry and Watches Exhibition, Doha, Qatar
2018 'Mathaf', Arab Museum of Modern Art
2018 Contemporary Art Qatar installation collaboration, with Au Pont Rouge, St. Petersburg, Russia
2018 Contemporary Art Group Exhibition, Qatar Museums, St. Petersburg, Russia
2018 'Cosmoscow - What We Are Made Of', Russian International Contemporary Art Fair, Moscow, Russia
2018 ECHOS, solo exhibition, Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, Qatar
2018 '50x50', Markhiya Gallery, Doha, Qatar
2018 Der Diwan Cultural House, Berlin, Germany
2017 Qatar Museums, Kraftwerk Berlin, Germany
2017 Alumni group exhibition, Virginia Commonwealth University Qatar’s Gallery. The exhibition was in celebration of the University’s 20th Anniversary, Doha, Qatar
2017 Group exhibition, ART 29 Gallery, Doha, Qatar
2016 Reach Out To Asia Charity Auction, Doha, Qatar
2016 Ahl Al Fireej, Doha Jewelry & Watches Exhibition, Doha, Qatar
2016 Smicha Film Collaboration (Drawings for film production), Doha, Qatar
2015 EMERGEAST Emerging Art Auction, DIFC, Dubai, UAE
2015 Group exhibition, Mykonos, Greece
2014 'Here, There', Al Riwaq Art Space, Qatar Museums, Doha, Qatar
2013 The Mini Art Exhibition, Katara Visual Arts Centre Projects, Doha, Qatar
2008 Wallpaper project, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA

Projects and Conferences

2018 New York Times Art For Tomorrow, Conference Ewerk Berlin, Germany
2016 Qatar Financial Centre Art Book Project, Doha, Qatar
2014-2015 Involvement in the building of Msheireb Museums Project - content development, Doha, Qatar
2005-2010 Tasmeem Doha, VCUQ

Workshops and Residencies

2019-2020 Printing and Printmaking Residency at VCUQ
2007 Tasmeem Doha Conference VCUQ on sustainability in design
2006 Arabic Typography workshop with Reza Abedini Visiting Graphic Designer at VCUQ from Iran