The Majlis – Cultures In Dialogue exhibition open

The exhibition itself represents the first part of a wider project that seeks to connect people, beliefs and cultures by offering a platform for respectful, yet incisive dialogue

The first international touring exhibition The Majlis – Cultures in Dialogue, organised by The Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum of Doha, State of Qatar, opened this week at the Grand Master’s Palace in Valletta.

Based on the concept of the traditional space of learning, discussion, dialogue and sharing present in every home in the Arabian Gulf, The Majlis – Cultures in Dialogue will be presented at various major venues in Valletta, Paris, Vienna and throughout Europe. The exhibition itself represents the first part of a wider project that seeks to connect people, beliefs and cultures by offering a platform for respectful, yet incisive dialogue.

The Majlis – Cultures in Dialogue is organised at the initiative of the Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum, in collaboration with Qatar Museums, UNESCO Doha Office, the Qatar National Committee for Education, Culture and Science, and the Office of the President
of Malta. It is presented for the first time in Malta under the Patronage of President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar, and UNESCO Malta with the endorsement of Valletta 2018 European Capital of Culture.

A majlis is the social space present in homes throughout the Arabian Gulf. For hundreds of years and up to the present day, it has been a setting for hospitality and dialogue, where families welcome visitors bearing stories and exotic gifts from their homelands, where children learn from their elders, and where communities gather to make decisions, great and small.

For the first time, The Majlis – Cultures in Dialogue will offer European audiences the experience of a real majlis. Visitors will be encouraged to sit, listen to stories and exchange ideas with each other and with scholars on what they see, discover and experience in the displays. Each visitor will have a unique experience at the exhibition; the same object will trigger different thoughts and emotions in each individual. The majlis, a space for encounters and the transmission of knowledge, will provide the captivating scene for sharing these experiences. This will be supplemented by organised activities such as panels, interactive films, lectures, storytelling and more.

Persian carpets featuring the Virgin Mary, mystic artifacts shared from Africa across the Arab world to India, Chinese Qurans, mosque lamps made in Vienna... these selected artefacts are a testimony to the beauty that has resulted from centuries of intercultural dialogue. They are at the core of fascinating stories that cover the full range of human experience, referencing events from di erent religions or holy books, relating conceptions of the world and the universe, illustrating matters of power and politics, and narrating tales of love, war and peace.

The exhibition will run until 28 October.

More in Art

Get access to the real stories first with the digital edition

Subscribe