In March 2015, the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar, opened the exhibition entitled Marvellous Creatures, a fascinating, wide-ranging mythical bestiary that presents the fantastic animals featured in Islamic tales and legends through the iconography of archaeological and artistic objects owned by this institution and other international museums. This temporary exhibition occupying a 600-square-metre space consists of six octagonal modules, reminiscent of local ornamental motifs, which contain the show’s four thematic sections based on the four elements of nature—earth, air, water and fire—as well as two screening rooms, one general and one for children featuring fabric reproductions of mythical animals. The modules are lined in fabrics printed with motifs and textures related to each theme, making extensive use of graphics to enrich and expand on the iconographic presentation.
Large-format illustrations were made of the tales that represent each element and hung along the corridor connecting the galleries and the activity areas. At the same time, a recorded narration of the story from which the main animal or creature was chosen played at low volume in each gallery. The whispered words of oral tradition, combined with special lighting effects, created a highly attractive, singular atmosphere.
In the activity room there were cloth replicas of the animals or creatures symbolising each area, and the space was equipped with two large tables and stools where visitors could interact with iPads, colour on postcards or write comments.
On the walls opposite the entrance to the exhibition, the audience could interact with two large magnetic murals: a puzzle whose pieces consisted of different parts of the featured animals, so that each child or adult could compose his/her own mythical creature, and another resembling a huge carpet where drawings made by visitors of their favourite creature or piece in the exhibition were inserted.