Qatar Museums launches campaign to protect public art
September 01 2020 08:55 PM
Anti-vandalism signage installed at Zekreet.
Anti-vandalism signage installed at Zekreet.

*Richard Serra sculpture in Zekreet to be restored

In its continuous efforts to foster artistic appreciation and ensure Qatar’s public art is cherished and looked after, Qatar Museums (QM) has launched a campaign to protect and preserve installations across the country, encouraging the wider community to share in the responsibility to take ownership of #OurPublicArt.

As part of the campaign, QM installed anti-vandalism signage at Zekreet where Richard Serra’s striking East-West/West-East sculpture has been defaced by unsightly tags.

The signage, installed in collaboration with Ashghal, serves to educate the community on what constitutes vandalism of public art: drawing, marking, spray painting, scratching or any other act that damages or defaces an installation.

In the coming months, QM will also undertake a clean-up operation to restore Serra’s installation.

Emphasising the community’s responsibility to preserve public art, QM CEO Ahmad Musa al-Namla said: “Qatar boasts a vibrant public art scene that not only brings to life urban areas but also sparks debate on topical issues of global relevance. It is unfortunate that some public art pieces, such as Richard Serra’s installation, have been defaced with scrawling and tags by visitors to Zekreet.”

“Vandalism of public artworks damages a national asset that is meant for the enrichment of the entire community and is forbidden by law. As public art belongs to us all, it is our collective responsibility to respect, preserve and protect it. QM strongly encourages the community to take pride in these incredible works, which have been created to be enjoyed by us all,” he said.

Serra’s breathtaking installation, located in the Brouq nature reserve, spans over a kilometre and comprises four steel plates, each over 14metres in height, standing in stark contrast to the topography of the land and the desolate space in the heart of the desert.

East-West/West-East is one of many awe-inspiring public artworks by renowned artists, including Damien Hirst, El Seed, Louise Bourgeois and Subodh Gupta, which can be found dotted across the city, taking art beyond four walls and breathing life into shared spaces.

QM is committed to nurturing a thriving public art scene through #OurPublicArt that reflects the artistic expression of the wider community.

Throughout the year, QM leads a number of public art initiatives, including the 6/5 Open Call, Public Art Student Competition and Mural Open Call that invite the community to unleash their creativity and actively contribute to Qatar’s vibrant cultural dialogue through pieces that represent Qatar’s past, celebrate its modernity and contemplate the country’s future.

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