The Qatar Museums Authority, under the patronage of chairperson HE Sheikha al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, has unveiled a number of major public art installations at the new Hamad International Airport, which opens today.

As part of its collaboration with the New Doha International Airport Steering Committee, for over five years QMA has worked with local, regional and international artists to commission and acquire artworks for key locations in and around the site of HIA.

Public Art is a central programme in QMA’s mission to push the boundaries of the traditional museum model and to offer cultural experiences in public spaces. The art installed at HIA supports this goal as well as the pillars of Qatar’s National Vision 2030 of education and engagement with the Qatari society.

As part of QMA’s aim to foster a spirit of national participation with the local community, a photography competition organised jointly by NDIA Steering Committee and QMA has resulted in works by four winning local artists being displayed in the departure hall. 

The artworks comprise of a mix of site-specific creations as well as others which have been acquired for the airport. Qatari artist Faraj Duham has been commissioned to create large-scale murals whilst artist Ali Hassan has produced a desert horse sculpture. Other local artists include Mohamed Aljaida, Mubarak al-Malik, Amal Alatham, and Yousif Ahmed.

The first of the international installations, entitled Lamp Bear by the Swiss artist Urs Fischer, is installed in a prominent location at the centre of the airport. Dutch artist Tom Claassen has produced a series of sculptures of the Oryx, an antelope native to the Arabian Peninsula, which appear as a herd in the Arrivals hall of the airport.

Works will be revealed progressively over the next year and feature pieces by international artists including: Adel Abdessemed, Dia Azzawi, Ahmed al-Bahrani, Maurizio Cattelan, Don Gummer, Keith Haring, Damien Hirst, Jenny Holzer, Tom Otterness, Marc Quinn, Anselm Reyle, Rudolf Stingel and Bill Viola.

A senior official stated that the QMA is honoured to be asked by NDIA Steering Committee to select works of art that would welcome travellers from all over the world.  “In Qatar, culture is at the heart of its human and national development -- and there is no better place to creatively welcome visitors and residents than the airport itself.”

A senior official of the NDIA Steering Committee said “it has been an extraordinary experience to work with Qatar Museums Authority on this project. We have been very successful in the integration of multiple elements of the airport to create not only a functional terminal, not only an iconic piece of architecture, but also a space where art and architecture merge to create a unique passenger experience.”

In addition to the public artworks, the photographs of local artists Mohamed al-Misnad, Hussein Mohamed al-Shafei, Sarah Abd al-Majed and Arioseto Kusuma Adi will be on permanent display in the departure hall of HIA, having won the opportunity to exhibit their work at the airport during a 2012 photography competition.

There will also be a QMA store and café within the airport. Travellers will be able to purchase merchandise or gift items relating to the museums, exhibitions and cultural programmes from QMA, and enjoy food and drink from the café inspired by both international and regional cuisine.

The installations at HIA are some of the latest additions to the Public Artworks unveiled by QMA.  The works join a strong portfolio of public art pieces including Richard Serra’s East-West/West-East (Brouq Nature Reserve), Damien Hirst’s The Miraculous Journey (Sidra Medical and Research Center), Louise Bourgeois’ Maman (Qatar National Convention Centre, Qatar Foundation), Richard Serra’s 7 (Museum of Islamic Art Park), Subodh Gupta Gandhi’s Three Monkeys (Katara Cultural Village), Sarah Lucas’ Perceval (Aspire Park), El Seed’s Calligraffiti Project (Salwa Road Tunnels),  and Anne Geddes’ Healthy Living From The Start (Hamad Medical Corporation’s Women’s Hospital).




Playground, a sculpture by Tom Otterness.

Lamp Bear by the Swiss artist Urs Fischer is installed in a prominent location inside the HIA.

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