Qatar Museums (QM) unveiled two iconic sculptures titled, ‘Flying Man’ designed by renowned Iraqi artist Dia al-Azzawi at the Hamad International Airport (HIA) on Monday.
Al-Azzawi’s unique sculptures will now join the growing and outstanding collection of paintings and installations by local and international artists at the airport, QM said in a statement.
“We are proud of our commitment of adding world-class art by local, regional and international artists to our exquisite collection already on display at HIA to inspire millions of visitors and residents who fly through the airport each year,” QM chief strategic planning officer Khalid Yousef al-Ibrahim said.
The sculptures at HIA is part of QM’s continuous efforts of creating cultural experiences outside its museums for everyone to interact with and enjoy.
According to al-Ibrahim, al-Azzawi is a significant, leading artistic figure, and a long-standing friend of QM and “we are proud to showcase his work at HIA.”
The sculptures are based on the story of Abu Firnas, a historical figure from the Islamic world who was an early pioneer in experimenting with flight.
Through these masterpieces, al-Azzawi aims to create a monument to celebrate travelling in the modern age. The two tall cylinder sculptures are inspired by the pillars that appeared in Mesopotamia, an ancient region, in the third century BC.
The airport installation comes at the same time as a major retrospective exhibition of the work of al-Azzawi, which opened simultaneously in Qatar at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art and QM Gallery Al Riwaq in Doha, and runs until April 16.
“Al-Azzawi’s sculpture found the perfect home at the airport as both the sculpture and our state-of-the-art terminal represent the celebration of travel,” HIA COO engineer Badr Mohammed al-Meer said.
“The impressive proportions of the installation allows both arriving and departing passengers at HIA to enjoy the sculpture,” he noted.
QM has worked with local, regional and international artists for more than six years to commission and acquire artworks for key locations in and around HIA.
The art comprises a mix of site-specific creations as well as pieces which have been carefully selected for the airport, QM added.
The airport has works by four Qatari artists - Amal al-Raban, Ali Hassan, Mubarak al-Malik and Salman al-Malik - in the Oryx and Al Maha lounges.
Public Art is a central programme in QM’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 Qatari society.