‘Small Lie’, an iconic artwork by American artist Kaws, was unveiled at Hamad International Airport (HIA) on Wednesday.
Delivered by Qatar Museums (QM), the airport’s new 32ft-tall sculpture is the latest addition to its fine art collection of more than 20 permanent pieces created by local and international artists.
“From striking sculptures to specially commissioned photography, our public art offering at HIA aims to inspire travellers as well as local talents flying through the airport,” QM’s chief strategic planning officer Khalid Yousef al-Ibrahim said at the inauguration of 'Small Lie'.
“We believe that art can be enjoyed far beyond the confines of a gallery and are delighted that a new iconic artwork by Kaws will join our ever-growing, world-class collection of paintings and installations by local and international artists,” he noted.
Reminiscent of a wooden marionette, 'Small Lie' is made from Afrormosia wood and weighs 15 tonnes, HIA said.
Badr Mohamed al-Meer, Khalid Yousef al-Ibrahim and Kaws at the inauguration of 'Small Lie' at HIA.
Most recently installed at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in the UK, the artwork is now located in the North node of the airport, near Concourse E. It will now be seen by 30mn passengers transiting through HIA annually.
“HIA’s space for public art is truly redefining the passenger experience. As we are gearing up to welcome more than 50mn passengers by 2022, the airport is thriving to give transit travellers a memorable journey through the arts and culture,” HIA’s chief operating officer engineer Badr Mohammed al-Meer said.
“We are proud to welcome a leading world-class artist like Kaws at HIA. I would like to thank QM and Kaws for their precious partnership in enriching our current art collection,” he added.
HIA being strategically located at the crossroads of the Eastern and the Western part of the world, the selection of art installations displayed at the airport transcends all cultures and beliefs.
Kaws (whose real name is Brian Donnelly) is the fourth American artist joining HIA’s Art Programme, according to QM. The newly-inaugurated artwork was a product of the artist’s relationship with wooden toys and “the warm sensation of wood grain” when he was growing up.
“I hope 'Small Lie' can transport passengers into another realm,” said Kaws, who travelled to Doha to unveil and present his work.
A painter, sculptor, product designer and collector, Kaws is considered one of the most distinctive artists of our time. His influential work connects people across generations with contemporary art and opens up the world of popular culture to young and diverse audiences across the globe.
“Expanding on this, I created an oversize sculpture that plays with an emotional tension of strength and kindness. 'Small Lie' makes the viewer feel small but also wants to protect it and console it,” the artist explained.
“It is the first time that one of my pieces is exhibited in an airport … the space allows a dialogue with both travellers and the other artworks showcased at HIA. It is a perfect space for 'Small Lie',” Kaws added.
The artist’s presence and support at Wednesday’s event at HIA has let 'Small Lie' make its mark in Qatar, according to QM.
QM worked with local, regional and international artists for many years to commission and acquire artworks for key locations in and around HIA as part of its mission to create easily accessible cultural experiences for all those who live in and visit Qatar.
Artworks on show at HIA comprise a mix of site-specific creations and pieces which have been carefully selected for the airport, transforming the transportation hub into a large-scale gallery filled with breathtaking pieces.