Qatar Museums is stepping up its public art initiative ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
More than 40 works of art will be displayed in public spaces in Doha in the coming months. This is part of a program to transform the Qatari capital into an open-air museum. Many of the new works are by heavyweights of the art world including Yayoi Kusama, Simone Fattal, Jeff Koons and Kaws.
Once installed, Doha will host more than 100 public pieces.
The Japanese artist Kusama will present several temporary works in the area outside the Museum of Islamic Art. These include My soul blooms forevera monumental collection of vibrant stainless steel flowers, as well as his polka dot sculpture Dancing Pumpkin.
Koons, famous for his balloon animal sculptures, created a colossal stainless steel sculpture of a dugong. The work, 21 meters high and 31 meters wide, pays homage to the endangered animal found in the waters of Qatar. The American artist’s sculpture will be placed in Al Masrah Park.
Iraqi sculptor Ahmed Al Bahrani will also present a work in homage to the vulnerable marine animal with his Dugong family installation.
American artist Kaws has created a site-specific work that will be exhibited at Dadu Garden, which is scheduled to open this year. The work of art, entitled The promise, features the accompanying figures for which the artist is famous. Qatar also has one of the largest of Kaws Little lie sculptures as the centerpiece of Hamad International Airport.
The Lebanese artist Fattal will present three conical blue granite sculptures with Maqam I, Maqam II, Maqam III. The works, which take their name from the ways used in traditional Arab music, allude to the shape of the dunes.
A giant blue cockerel sculpture titled Hahn by German artist Katharina Fritsch will be exhibited at the Sheraton Grand Doha Resort and Convention Hotel
“The addition of 40 new public works of art is a milestone,” said Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, president of the Qatar Museum. “Public art is one of our most significant forms of cultural exchange, where we present the works of artists of all nationalities and backgrounds”.
When the works are installed, Doha will have one of the largest public art programs in the region. The capital of Qatar, however, already has dozens of impressive works decorating its urban landscape. Here are five to know:
“The miraculous journey”
This series of 14 bronze sculptures by British artist Damien Hirst traces the development of a fetus until birth. The works, culminating in a 14-meter-high figure of a child, are lined up in front of the Sidra Medical Center, a hospital for women and children.
“Everyone talks about the journey of a lifetime, but we have a whole journey before we are born,” Hirst said of work.
Qatari artist Shua’a Ali’s Milestones features the artist’s idiosyncratic rock and stacked rock formations, but in a more colossal scale and with the addition of concrete blocks and ropes.
The work, which reflects on Ali’s fusion of post-war European expressionism with references to local heritage, is located on Grand Hamad Street.
by the American artist Richard Serra 7 looms 24 meters above MIA Park and is made up of seven slabs arranged on seven sides. The layout and title of the work allude to the spiritual significance of the number in Islamic culture.
The design of the work reflects on the Ghazni minaret in Afghanistan. It was built over a period of three years and took one million man hours.
“Gates of the sea”
by Fattal Doors to the sea alludes to rock carvings found in archaeological sites throughout Qatar.
The petroglyphs depict boats and fish scales and are the symbol of the nation’s inextricable relationship with the sea.
The location of the sculpture near the entrance to the National Museum of Qatar conveys a connection between the present and the past.
Another work that reflects on Qatar’s link with the sea is The ship by the Qatari artist Faraj Daham. Made of wood and concrete and 10 meters high, the sculpture is a sober representation of the traditional transport boat.
Engraving on the concrete plinth on which it rests characteristic abstract representations of fishing nets.
The sculpture is installed on the ground of the Al Janoub stadium.
Updated: August 12, 2022, 3:09 pm