Posted on November 02, 2016

The highly anticipated Chinese Festival in Qatar has opened at the Museum of Islamic Art Park today, and will run from 2 – 5 November 2016. The festival celebrates the rich and varied culture of China in a weekend of exciting events for all the family to enjoy.

Over the course of the weekend, some of Zhejiang’s leading musicians and performers will entertain crowds in a beautiful outdoor setting that includes a Chinese market, Chinese teahouse, stage, photography exhibition space, food stalls and a children’s play area. China will be celebrated with musical performances, film, children’s activities and delicious food. This year’s festival is a key part of the Qatar China 2016 Year of Culture, presented by Qatar Museums under the leadership of its Chairperson, H.E. Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and in partnership with the Ministry of Culture of China and the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Culture.

Mohammed Al Othman, Public and International Relations Director at Qatar Museums said: “We are very excited to host this dynamic festival that promotes an understanding, celebration and appreciation of Chinese culture, traditions and people,in Qatar. We hope to draw thousands of visitors to the festival over the coming days to experience this unique event, which reflects the history and heritage of China. As the Qatar China Year of Culture draws to an end this December, we hope that visitors will take this opportunity to experience and engage with Chinese culture right here in Doha.”

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This year’s festival is divided into different‘zones’ to give visitors the ultimate Chinese experience. The entertainment zone includes musical performances, traditional dances, Chinese tea ceremonies and calligraphy demonstrations. The exhibition zone showcases a stunning photography exhibition which presents the work of four Chinese and two Qatari photographers, who travelled to each other’s countries on a two-week expedition to understand and visually communicate a way of life different from their own.The market zone includes a variety of arts and crafts activities including woodblock printing, rice sculpture and kite making workshops and a puppet show. Visitors are also treated to a variety of delicious local and Chinese delicacies to choose from.

The Qatar China 2016 Year of Culture is part of the landmark ‘Years of Culture’ initiative, designed to deepen understanding between nations and their people through mutual exchanges of arts, culture, heritage and sport. The Qatar China 2016 Year of Culture, which will come to an end this December, has been a great success to date with numerous exhibitions and activities held in both Qatar and China. As part of this year’s programme, QM presented ‘What About the Art: Contemporary Art from China’, an exhibition of 15 contemporary Chinese artists curated by internationally acclaimed New York based Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang;‘Silks from the Silk Road – Chinese Silk Art’, an exhibition that was on show in the QM Gallery Katara; the Treasures of China exhibition, which is currently on show at the Museum of Islamic Art and Pearls: Treasures from the Seas and the Rivers, an exhibition organised jointly by Qatar Museums and the National Museum of China, currently on show at the National Museum of China in Beijing.

The bilateral Years of Culture initiative was launched under the guidance of HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani in 2012. Since it began, the programme has included Qatar Japan 2012, Qatar UK 2013, Qatar Brazil 2014, Qatar Turkey 2015 and now Qatar China 2016. Many events have attracted significant engagement from the public, with 28,000 people attending the Brazil Festival in Doha in 2014, and 40,000 the Turkey Festival in Doha in 2015.

Opening hours for the Chinese festival are:

2nd November: 5pm to 10pm

3rd November: 2pm to 10pm

4th November: 2pm to 10pm

5th November: 10am to 10pm

Qatar Airways is the official airline sponsor of the Years of Culture initiative, while the Shangri La Hotel group is the official hospitality sponsor.

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Background: Years of Culture Two nations, one spirit

Every year, Qatar Museums runs a cultural exchange programme, ‘Years of Culture’. This year the partner nation is The People's Republic of China. Previous Years of Culture were Qatar Japan 2012, Qatar UK 2013, Qatar Brazil 2014 and Qatar Turkey 2015. In 2017, Qatar Musuems will present the Qatar Germany Year of Culture. Qatar and its partner nation work to deepen the understanding between the two countries and their people through mutual exchanges of arts, culture, heritage and sport.

Committed to promoting cultural dialogue and programmes that build bridges between nations, the Yearsof Culture explores cultural similarities, as well as differences. In the spirit of openness and innovation, the Years of Culture fosters the exchange of ideas, to spark debate with other parts of the world, to create lasting, collaborative relationships between nations, partners and sponsors. Through a variety of exhibitions, festivals, competitions and events, the programmes promote mutual understanding, recognition and appreciation.

Under the initiative of H.E.Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al Thani, Qatar Museums spearheads the series of bilateral, cultural exchange programmes through the Office of Strategic Cultural Relations, in close partnership with the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage, with the active support of partnering nations and in collaboration with numerous partnering institutions in Qatar and abroad.