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Museum Director Reports From Doha

Block Museum director shares insights from Northwestern’s Qatar campus

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February 29, 2012 | by Judy Moore

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Lisa Corrin, the new Ellen Philips Katz Director of the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, is visiting Northwestern University's Qatar campus this week as a guest of the Qatar Foundation. Experience Doha, the capital city, through her reflections posted on the Block Museum website.

A Feb. 29 dispatch from Corrin:

“The Arab Museum of Modern Art sits not far from Education City. It is a state-of-the-art “kunsthalle.” The current exhibition, “Saraab,” is a newly commissioned body of work by the Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang that takes up the entire building. He has created an interrelated series of installations that link the history of his birthplace, Quanzhou -- the starting point of the Silk Road -- to Qatar and the Arabian Peninsula. Each gallery links references that tie the two cultures together: Arabian horses, camels, falconry, and the traditional robes worn by Muslim women encounter Chinese inventions such as white porcelain, gunpowder and ink painting. The first gallery is a mist-filled room with a basin of water the color of the sea in Doha. Through the vaporous air, you begin to make out three boats. One is clearly Chinese, the others, old pearling boats from Qatar.”

In 2008 Northwestern partnered with the Qatar Foundation to open the University's first international branch campus -- Northwestern University in Qatar. NU-Q brings all the history and distinction of Northwestern to Doha and offers students the opportunity to study media and earn a bachelor of science degree in journalism or communication -- two rapidly evolving fields with enormous social importance. The first graduation of students from the Northwestern Qatar campus will take place in May.