Sheika al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani

Sheika al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani TIME 100
Natalie Naccache—The New York Times/Redux

Qatar's transformative patron of the arts

I first became acquainted with Sheika al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani in 2010, thanks to her support for my exhibition at the Château de Versailles. This connection led to an opportunity to hold a solo exhibition in Doha. Upon accepting the offer, I made my first trip to Qatar’s capital, and the sight of the vast futuristic city unfolding in the desert set my imagination aflame.

Over the next two years, I learned quite a bit about Sheika al-Mayassa, the organization she chairs — the Qatar Museums Authority — and the common threads among the cultures of the Asian continent. Sheika al-Mayassa, sister of the Emir, has chosen to use the resources at her disposal to give her people access to the world’s best art and to promote intercultural understanding. This choice is not an easy one, nor should it be taken for granted. Coming from Japan, where art that is challenging in nature faces an opposition that at times feels institutional, I am highly moved by her vision and her strong passion for art.

Murakami is a renowned visual artist whose first feature film, Jellyfish Eyes, opens in the U.S. in May

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