Katara General Manager Prof. Dr. Khalid bin Ibrahim Al Sulaiti, Unesco Gulf States and Yemen Office Director Dr. Salah Khaled, FBQ Museum Director Claudio Cravero, along with other dignitaries during the opening of “Coffee for Two – Cultures in Dialogue” exhibition in Katara.
Doha: The ongoing “Coffee for Two – Cultures in Dialogue” exhibition in Katara spotlights Qahwa (Arabic coffee) as an intangible cultural heritage and a symbol of generosity.
“Everything started in Qahwa, the original Arabic coffee. Coffee in general is a unifying element in any culture. The exhibition Coffee for Two is an invitation to share and celebrate togetherness, we sit down around a cup of coffee and socialise,” Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani (FBQ) Museum Director Claudio Cravero told The Peninsula.
The exhibition is curated by FBQ, and Al Rayyan Investment in Education and Sports, with cultural partners Cultural Village Foundation, Katara, and Unesco Gulf States and Yemen Office. It will run until September 21, and is open from 10am to 10pm at Katara Building 47, Gallery 1.
Cravero also revealed that the event is the second chapter of the international travelling exhibition “The Majlis – Cultures in Dialogue,” formed in 2018 which already made stops in six European capitals including Valletta, Paris, and Vienna. The Majlis offers European audiences the experience of a real majlis which is a social space present in homes throughout the Arabian Gulf. Visitors of the exhibition will be encouraged to sit, listen to stories and exchange ideas with each other and with scholars on what they see, discover and experience in the displays
Asked on what separates Qahwa from other coffee drinks, he said: “It requires a longer preparation; the way how to prepare Qahwa is being passed on from generation to generation, it’s not something that is lost but is very much alive.”
Dr. Salah Khaled, Unesco Gulf States and Yemen Office Director said: “By inscribing the element of “Arabic coffee, a symbol of generosity”, the Unesco Intergovernmental Committee for Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage stressed the cultural functions of Arabic coffee are an expression of hospitality, generosity and social etiquette. It encourages dialogue, sharing of knowledge and experiences, and mutual respect between cultures, faiths and communities. It is an important element of shared culture transmitted from generation to generation, giving the communities the sense of identity and continuity.”
Unesco has described Qahwa as a symbol of generosity. “Serving Arabic coffee is an important aspect of hospitality in Arab societies and considered a ceremonial act of generosity. Traditionally, coffee is prepared in front of guests.” In 2015, it was inscribed on the Unesco Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Fifty artefacts are being featured in “Coffee for Two,” in addition to images, videos, and quiz games. It examines the cultural customs around the locally roasted Arabic coffee and the roles it plays in local communities.
Additionally, it looks at the background of the well-known brew by using maps to trace its travels from the Arabian Peninsula and Egypt, where it was initially cultivated, to the prosperous plantations in Latin America, where it eventually rose to prominence in the 17th century. Moreover, it emphasises the development of coffee throughout history and its modern adaptation.