Qatar Museums (QM) has unveiled two public art installations by British artist Martin Creed and emerging Qatari ‘ARToonist’ Ghada al-Khater.
The artworks mark the first anniversary of the blockade against Qatar, commemorating a historic time of unprecedented national solidarity and the power of hope that brought the people of Qatar together.
The first piece is Martin Creed’s mutable ‘Everything is Going to be Alright’ installation, which was newly-created for the context of the anniversary of Qatar’s blockade, and showcased on the façade of Al Riwaq Gallery.
The bright ‘LEDpiece’ provides a moment of double-take in urban landscapes and acts as a reassuring message for everyone that passes by. Originally executed in 1999 for a temporary commission in Hackney, the artwork is one of the great post-conceptualist pieces of the late 20th century.
'A Blessing in Disguise' neon sign by Qatari ARToonist Ghada al-Khater is seen on the Fire Station's facade.
The second piece introduces Qatar to another creative commentary by political ‘ARToonist’ Ghada al-Khater who generated tremendous praise for her humorous take on the blockade.
‘A Blessing in Disguise’ is Ghada’s Arabic answer to Creed’s ‘Everything is Going to be Alright’.
The familiar proverb formed a significant part of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani’s historical speech on July 21, 2017, in which he addressed the citizens of Qatar for the first time since the start of the blockade.
Displayed on the Fire Station’s façade, the sign serves as a simple and gentle reminder “that there is always a silver lining.”
“Since the beginning of the blockade, Qatar has chosen to take the high road, rising above hate and hostility,” said Khalifa al-Obaidly, director of the Fire Station.
“The two installations were chosen for their genuine and simple messages of hope and optimism, reflecting how the country and its people have used the unjust blockade as an inspiration to move forward against all odds.”
Spearheaded by QM’s chairperson HE Sheikha al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, public art is a central focus in QM’s mission to push the boundaries of the traditional museum model and offer cultural experiences in public spaces.
The two temporary installations join a growing and outstanding collection of paintings and artworks by local and international artists. Hand-picked for their immersive and thought-provoking nature, QM’s public art installations serve as an inspiration for the next generation of cultural producers.
This is not the first art initiative that QM has launched as a commentary on the blockade. Last year’s ‘100 Days of Blockade’ graffiti at the Fire Station saw five local and expat artists producing emotive artworks reflecting their personal take on the political situation.
“Creativity and humour shine the brightest during times of crisis. We will continue to nurture Qatar’s growing artist community by providing platforms of self-expression and establishing an organic connection between audiences and art of all kinds,” al-Obaidly added.