|The sculptures that are installed outside the new Sidra Medical and Research Center in Doha. ‘The Miraculous Journey’ consists of 14 large-scale bronze sculptures that chart the gestation of a foetus from conception to birth.|
Qatar Museums Authority yesterday announced the unveiling of a major new installation by British artist Damien Hirst in Doha.
Entitled “The Miraculous Journey”, the project has been commissioned for the public space outside the new Sidra Medical and Research Center.
This artwork celebrates both health and culture; two key elements of the Qatar National Vision 2030.
Conceived by the artist in 2005 and taking over three years to complete, the work’s unveiling coincides with the opening of Hirst’s first solo show in the Middle East, Relics at ALRIWAQ Doha exhibition space.
Consisting of 14 bronze sculptures, The Miraculous Journey charts the gestation of a foetus from conception to birth.
The biological variations that can occur during pregnancy – twins, and transverse and breech birth – are shown alongside the typical development of a foetus.
The colossal bronze figures range from 5 to 11 metres in height and were individually cast in over 500 panels at Pangolin Foundry in the UK.
The scale of the sculptures required the foundry to make a staggering 19km-long weld line of bronze. Pangolin described it as the largest project they had done to date.
Hirst, acknowledged to be amon-gst the world’s most influential artists, explains that the work came from “a desire to create something monumental, whilst essentially human”. The work addresses some of the artist’s most enduring concerns and is simultaneously a celebration of life, and an exploration of the difficulties inherent in trying to express the profundities of our existences.
Hirst states: “Ultimately, the journey a baby goes through before birth is bigger than anything it will experience in its human life. I hope The Miraculous Journey will instill in the viewer a sense of awe and wonder at this extraordinary human process, which will soon be occurring at Sidra, as well as every second all across the globe.”
The introduction of Hirst’s bold and sometimes controversial work signals an important step in the growth of a cross-cultural dialogue between the UK and Qatar.
Relics and The Miraculous Journey contribute to five significant cultural projects that will launch in different spaces across Doha during the first week of October, including Adel Abdessemed’s L’âge d’or at Mathaf; Museum of Crying Woman, a project by Francesco Vezzoli, in dialogue with Rem Koolhaas and Hans Ulrich Obrist at QMA Gallery at Katara; and Hajj – The Journey Through Art at Museum of Islamic Art.
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