Zeina Arida Named Director of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art – Artforum

Qatar Museums has announced Zeina Arida as the next director of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art. Arida will step into her new role this month, taking the reins from Abdellah Karroum, who has served as the institution’s director since 2013, and who is departing to act as special curatorial advisor to Sheikha Amna Al Thani, director of the National Museum of Qatar and acting deputy CEO of museums, collections and heritage protection for Qatar Museums. He also plans to take on various independent curatorial projects.
Arida, an expert in expert in Arab arts, culture, and heritage and specializing in photography, archives and modern and contemporary art, has since 2014 has led Beirut’s Sursock Museum as that institution’s director. Following the devastating Beirut port blast of 2020, which damaged the museum, she raised over $2.5 million toward its reconstruction and the restoration of its artworks. Before arriving at the Sursock, from 1997 to 2014, she helmed the Arab Image Foundation, where she helped to establish a strategic multiyear program called MEPPI, which is aimed at elevating awareness of the importance of preserving the region’s photographic heritage. 
“We welcome our remarkable new director, Zeina Arida, who is bringing her deep experience and distinctive vision to Mathaf to guide this institution into its next decade,” said Qatar museum Ahmad Al Namla, adding, “We are profoundly grateful to Abdellah Karroum for his invaluable role in developing Mathaf over the past eight years through the breadth of knowledge he has contributed to this institution and the many important relationships with artists he has brought to us.” Kharroum during his tenure, which spanned eight of the museum’s ten years in existence, raised the institution’s international profile with exhibitions at Paris’s Palais de Tokyo and Madrid’s Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, and with shows at Mathaf of works by artists including Yto Barrada, El Anatsui,  Raqs Media Collective, and Wael Shawky. Kharroum will work side by side with Arida to ensure a smooth transition. 
“It is an honor to be chosen to lead this truly exceptional institution,” said Arida. “I am excited to begin working with the staff, the Qatar Museum leadership, and outstanding artists of Arab background within the region and around the world, as we build on Mathaf’s achievements of the past years.”
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