The main website page for Mathaf's online encyclopedia showing a slideshow of artist profiles
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The Mathaf Encyclopedia: A Unique Resource

25 January 2022

By Hissa Al Hitmi

For nearly a decade, this bilingual, peer-reviewed site has been providing in-depth information on modern and contemporary artists from the Arab world.

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Born into poverty and orphaned at age five, the 20th-century Algerian painter Baya Mahieddine had an unlikely path to becoming an artist at all, much less an internationally recognized one. Yet by the time she was 16, she had earned enough acclaim to have her first solo exhibition.

Baya’s story is just one of many available in Mathaf's Encyclopedia of Modern Art and the Arab World. Read about Dia al-Azzawi, considered one of the pioneers of modern Arab art, and find out how he was introduced to art by his older brother. Or delve into the biography of Lebanese artist Saloua Raouda Choucair, whose wide-ranging interests included quantum physics, Arabic poetry, molecular biology and optics.

Les deux musiciennes, 1966 Gouache and graphite on paper at Mathaf showcases Baya Mahieddine's abstract painting.

Baya Mahieddine, Les deux musiciennes, 1966, Gouache and graphite on paper, 99 x 148.5 cm. Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha

Launched in 2013, the Encyclopedia contains dozens of detailed biographies that have been researched by scholars and independent historians. Each entry also contains samples of the artists’ artworks as well as recommendations for further reading.

The Encyclopedia also includes essays contributed by artists and other scholars, as well as featured videos and interviews. New content is added on a regular basis.

Explore the Encyclopedia

Hissa Al Hitmi is an Editorial Coordinator at Qatar Museums.