Qatari artist Yusuf Ahmed is exhibiting several paintings at the Museum of Modern Arab Art in a show called "Swalif: Qatari Art between Memory and Modernity".
Standing in front of several of his paintings, Yusuf recalls the various aspects of life from the 1960s to the present.
"The exhibition is a rare opportunity to assess the stages of art in Qatar. There are schools that are considered old compared with the country's history that were influenced by a number of art schools in the Arab world. Some were influenced by art schools in Cairo while others were influenced by art schools in Baghdad."
The Swalif exhibition, which focuses on Qatar's history with works from different periods, will be shown through October 29th at the Museum of Modern Arab Art in Doha.
The exhibition presents more than 75 works of art, including oil paintings, watercolors, ceramics and multimedia by 23 Qatari artists. Two of the artists are Sheikh Hassan Bin Mohammed al-Thani, vice chairman of the Qatar Museums Authority Board of Trustees, and Yusuf Ahmed, the exhibition's senior advisor.
The paintings are exhibited in story form spanning four decades, depicting the rapid development of Qatari society as well as how the discovery of oil affected traditional ways of life.
Abdul Wahed al-Mawlawi's 1965 painting "The Cloak Maker" is the oldest painting on display, while Hassan Bin Mohammed's 2006 painting "Falcon" is the most recent.
Artist Mohammed al-Ahbabi said the Swalif exhibition is the dream of many Qatari artists.
"We used to exhibit our paintings in small halls without much attention. This exhibition provided us with a place that can only be described as distinguished," he said.
"The exhibition provides various images of art in Qatar. We are partial to realism in our paintings, but there are also other schools, most notably the symbolism school. We have a great many talents and maybe the exhibition will be a beginning of the creation for more talent."
The museum, located near Education City in Doha, has several exhibition halls, and holds 6,500 rare pieces of art collected from private collections or Arab museums. It opened in December 2010.
"[The museum] is an important achievement because it will encourage a lot of Qatari talent to excel," Ahmed said.
Juma al-Ani, an Iraqi artist residing in Qatar, was fascinated by the museum, which he said "has succeeded in establishing a beginning for understanding the meaning of art in the Arab world."
"The museum is an ideal and wonderful place because it holds rare paintings, some of which were believed to be missing and others that are historical in nature."
One example is Mahmoud Said's 1934 painting called "Shadoof", which depicts Egyptian peasants collecting water with the shadoof from the Nile River.
Despite its collection, Ani said the museum is struggling to attract visitors.
"Unfortunately, attendance is low," he said. "I think there is a lack of awareness about the importance of art, not only in Qatar, but throughout the Arab world. Many people still do not understand the true meaning of art."