Raqs Media Collective’s “Still More World”
              Mark Rappolt
              In recent years, the route from India to Qatar has been heavily and not uncontroversially travelled by hundreds of thousands of migrant workers. Almost a quarter of Qatar’s estimated 2.6 million population is Indian; there are more newspapers printed in Malayalam (the principal language of the South Indian state of Kerala) than in Arabic or English; and in 2019, India is Qatar’s partner nation in a year of cultural exchange. Although in some ways that last might be the icing on a cake that is already baked. It’s fitting then that Raqs Media Collective’s contribution to this cultural union opens with a new work (one of two in this 16-work, eight-year survey) that is simultaneously site specific and imported. Located in Mathaf’s atrium, Dohas for Doha (2019) introduces some of Raqs’s favorite themes: translation, migration, doubling, and miscegenation. It comprises five dohas—aphorisms in the form of rhyming couplets, a type of Hindi poetry most famously deployed by the fifteenth-century Indian mystic Kabir (who occupies a double position as both a Muslim and a Hindu saint). Each flashes up on an LED screen in English and Arabic and is ostensibly a comment about Raqs’s process of creation—“This doha talks in shadow speech …
              PR Kingdom: Press Debriefings and a Bit of Art in Doha. "Tea with Nefertiti" at Mathaf
              Ana Teixeira Pinto
              It is day one of my press trip to Doha, Qatar, and our itinerary starts with a walk around the pier adjacent to the Museum of Islamic Art, which culminates in Richard Serra’s 7. As we approach the massive sculpture, a journalist walking by my side confides, “I was here while they were building it, the Indian workers, toiling under the blazing sun.” As I look up, she becomes apologetic. “I know it’s an amazing artwork, but I am only human.” Her expression betrays genuine concern, yet she cannot quite bring herself to disavow the sculpture. I circle around the sculpture’s metal edifice and come face to face with another journalist who whispers, “After the HRW (Human Rights Watch) released a report condemning labor policies, Qatari authorities issued a ban on outdoor work when the temperature rises above 50 degrees Celsius. But since then it’s never officially over 50 degrees Celsius….” We smile and shrug whilst the press corps keeps snapping pictures. For all their concerns, there are two things that my colleagues don’t seem to question. The first is that this is a good artwork—is it? Seven slabs of metal supported by intellectual kitsch (Serra found his inspiration in Persian …

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