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Arabian nights transforms Grandmaster's palace

Exhibition open until October 28

In the Arab world, the traditional majlis is a space reserved for dialogue. Photos: Chris Sant Fournier

In the Arab world, the traditional majlis is a space reserved for dialogue. Photos: Chris Sant Fournier

­­The Grandmaster’s Palace in Valletta has been transformed into a majlis – a traditional Arabian space of dialogue, as part of a touring cultural concept that made a stop in Malta.  

Based on the concept of the traditional space of learning and discussion that is prevalent in homes across the Arabian Gulf, The Majlis – Cultures in Dialogue has seen one of the rooms in the Palace festooned with traditional Middle Eastern décor.

The baroque interior of the Palace has temporarily made way for Arabian carpets and an exhibition of delicately painted vases and other historic artefacts. 

The majlis, organisers said, was the social space present in homes throughout the Arabian Gulf.

“For hundreds of years and until present day, it has been a setting for hospitality and dialogue, where families welcome visitors bearing stories and exotic gifts from their homelands. It’s a space where children learn from their elders, and where communities gather to make decisions, great and small,” they said, adding that the exhibition would offer European audiences the chance to experience a real majlis.

Visitors 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.

This will be supplemented by organised activities such as panels, interactive films, lectures and story-telling.

The conceptual exhibition is being organised by the Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum in Qatar’s capital Doha.

Qatar Museums, UNESCO’s Doha Office, the Qatar National Committee for Education, Culture and Science, and the Office of the President of Malta have also been involved in putting on the exhibition.

The exhibition will run until October 28.

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