Qatar Museums (QM) announced Wednesday a program of new public artworks by celebrated Qatari, regional and international artists that will be presented throughout Doha and the nation, as part of the year-round initiative titled “Qatar Creates – a National Cultural Movement” curates, promotes, and celebrates the diversity of cultural activities in Qatar.
Qatar Museums said in a statement that the country and its public spaces will be transformed into a vast open-air art museum stretching from its desert to the bustling Souq Waqif. The collection includes around 40 new artworks to bring the total number of public artworks to more than 100 on view for locals and the 1.5 million visitors who are expected to travel to Doha for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
HE Chairperson of Qatar Museums Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani comments: “The addition of 40 new, major works of public art this fall is a significant milestone for Qatar’s public art program. Public art is one of our most prominent demonstrations of cultural exchange, where we present works from artists of all nationalities and backgrounds. From the arrivals at the best airport in the world ‘Hamad International Airport’ to every neighborhood in our nation, public art is there to make your experience unique.” “These works vary in size and form, and they encompass a wide range of subject matter, but all further our mission to make art more accessible, engage our publics, celebrate our heritage, and embrace the cultures of others. More importantly, artists from every corner of the world – representing all continents – have been invited to express their artistic creativity with our very own diverse population,” HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani added.
“Our longstanding commitment to public art is visible across Qatar, and we hope these works will be welcomed by locals and enhance the experiences had by the millions of visitors we expect to welcome to Doha this year,” Her Excellency stressed.
The statement added that Qatar Museums is working on accomplishing the project in cooperation with various state organizations including the Hamad International Airport, Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, Public Works Authority (Ashghal) to display the artworks in a variety of densely-populated public spaces and unexpected public spots designed to surprise and please passers-by including parks, shopping malls, educational and sports facilities, the Hamad International Airport, Metro stations as well as stadiums to host the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
Among the most prominent public artworks to be displayed are multi-colored, granite-made Sculptures of Maqam I, Maqam II and Maqam III by Lebanese artist Simone Fattal; Dugong (2022), a massive, approximately 21 metre high and 31 metre wide polychromed mirror-polished stainless-steel sculpture by American artist Jeff Koons in the form of a Dugong, the marine mammal that has inhabited the waters surrounding Qatar’s peninsula for centuries, on view at Al Masrah Park; along with Iraqi sculptor Ahmed Al Bahranis Dugong Family installation in Al Ruwais celebrating the dugong, an endangered marine mammal native to Qatar’s waters.
The newly introduced artworks also include a collection of contemporary sculptures and pieces by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, including “My Soul Blooms Forever”, “Flowers that speak all about my heart, “Dancing Pumpkin” and “Daffodil Garden”, along with a sculpture specially created for the desert by Olafur Eliasson and is set to be displayed in the vicinity of the Islamic Art Museum Park.
Among the new additions also come German artist Catarina Fritsch’s “The Rooster” at the Sheraton Doha, and the sculptures by Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto, including an artwork in the Qatari desert entitled “Lazy Turtle and a Model of the Earth”, and “Earth Cocoon, Our Goal is Life” in tandem with KAWS’ “The Promise 2022”, depicting the American artist’s companion figures in a tender gesture suggesting a parent carefully passing the globe to the hands of a child.
“Mountains of Doha” by Swiss Ugo Rondinon, will go on view on the facade of Ras Abu Aboud Beach in Doha near Stadium 974, along with US Rashid Johnson’s mosaic artwork “Qatari Walls – Village of the Sun”.
Inspired by a group of four major modern buildings in Doha, Shezad Dawood’s “Doha Modern Games” will be exhibited in the Theater Park, in addition to “Naseem” (Breeze) by Kuwaiti artist Munira Al Qadiri, a huge diorama of microscopic organisms in the fossilized algae in the Arabian Peninsula, which will go on view along the northern shore of the Western Gulf.
The “Rock on Top of Another Rock” Sculpture by Swiss artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss will be displayed in the National Theater. The sculpture depicts two stacked rocks weighing about 30 tons balanced without a mainstay.
At the Corniche Park, a series of sculptures by Korean artist Suki Seokyeong Kang under the title of “Here, We Hear” will motivate onlookers to gather and interact with each other, while “I Live Under Your Sky,” by Indian Shilpa Gupta will be exhibited at the 974 Stadium along with American Lawrence Weiner’s “All Stars in the Sky Have the Same Face”.
The program will exhibit Qatar artist Shua’a Ali’s “Equilibrium” in Msheireb (Downtown Doha) and “Ma’alem” (Features) in the Grand Hamad Courtyard along with “We, She and He” by Lebanese artist Najla Al Zein in Al A’alam Yard on the Corniche Road and US artist Vai Togod’s “Clay Square”, which comprises 17 hand-made sculptures, in the vicinity of the National Theater.
Late Austrian artist Franz West’s biggest piece “Gekrose”, a giant bright-colored aluminum sculpture carved in 2011, will definitely lure and stun spectators at the theater Park on Corniche Road.
On the interface of the Arab Museum of Modern Art, Iraqi artist Adel Abidin’s visual piece “They Asked me to Change it and I Agreed” along with ‘The Ship’ by Egyptian artist Adam Hanin and ‘Fertile Crescent Guard’ by late Iraqi sculptor Ismail Fatah will be exhibited. Qatari artist Shouq Al-Mana’s “Egal” will be installed along the Lusail Marina Promenade as a tribute to Qatar’s history and traditions.
Director of Public Art Management at Qatar Museum, Abdulrahman Al Ishaq said that the introduction of more than 40 artworks to the public Art Program will transform Doha and other Qatari cities into a dynamic urban painting to assure that the program boosts the existence of art everywhere, not only at museums and exhibitions.
Qatar has been among the pioneering countries in the Arabian Gulf to launch a comprehensive program for public art with the aim of making art part of everyday life. The program includes more than 100 artworks created by more than 60 artists from Qatar and the Middle East, North Africa and worldwide.
Among the most outstanding artworks come “Sculpture 7” and Sculpture “East-West, West-East” by Ritchard Sierra at the Islamic Art Museum Park; “Hawk” (2021) by Tom Klassen at the Hamad International Airport; “A Blessing in Disguise” by Ghada Al Khater at the Fire Station Museum along with Bruce Nauman’s “Untitled” at M7 and Ahmed Al Bahrani’s “Banner of Glory” at Qatar National Museum; “Lamp Bear” by Swiss artist Urs Fischer at the Hamad International Airport; “Ghandhi’s Three Monkeys” by Subodh Gupta at Katara; Louise Bourgeois’ “Maman” at Qatar National Convention Centre; Damien Hirst’s “The Miraculous Journey” in front of Sidra Medicine Center, Saloua Raouda Choucair’s “Seat” at the Islamic Art Museum Park and “The Flying Man” by Diaa Al Azzawi at the Hamad International Airport.