Qatar Museums (QM) on Monday announced plans to transform the nation’s landscape into a vast outdoor art museum experience in celebration of Qatar’s hosting of the FIFA World Cup 2022.
Beginning now and continuing until the opening of the World Cup in November 2022, Qatar Museums will install more than 40 new and commissioned public artworks throughout Doha and across the country.
Two Orchids' by Isa Genzken outside of the National Theatre
This will be done in a variety of public spaces, including parks and shopping areas, educational and athletic facilities, Hamad International Airport (HIA) and Qatar Rail stations, as well as select stadiums that will host the World Cup matches.
Qatar Museums is working with various entities across the city on Qatar’s public art programme, including HIA, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy and Public Works Authority (Ashghal).
'Falcon' outside Hamad International Airport
HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums, said: “The enrichment of Qatar’s public spaces by extraordinary artworks by artists of all nationalities and backgrounds is a point of pride for our nation. I hope these outstanding artworks will be enjoyed as a sweeping outdoor museum experience by our local community as well as the millions of visitors we expect to welcome to Doha in 2022 from the moment they arrive at Hamad International Airport.”
'Untitled' (Trench, Shafts, Pit, Tunnel and Chamber) by Bruce Nauman outside M7 in Msheireb Downtown Doha
Abdulrahman Ahmed al-Ishaq, who serves as director of QM’s Public Art department, said: “The addition of more than 40 installations all over Doha and throughout the country is representative of Qatar Museums' commitment to its public art programme, which enlivens the spaces we share, encourages dialogue among countless people, and provides sources of inspiration that are always accessible.”
'East/West-West/East' by Richard Serra in Zekreet
Featuring celebrated Qatari, regional and international artists, the new installations, most of which have been commissioned, will bring QM’s total number of public artworks to more than 100, making this one of the most ambitious public art programmes in the world.
Qatari and Mena region artists to be represented include Adel Abidin, Mohamed al-Ateeq, Ahmed al-Bahrani, Shouq al-Mana, Shua’a al-Muftah, Salman al-Malik, Monira al-Qadiri, Faraj Daham, Simone Fattal and Wafeeqa Sultan. International artists include Daniel Arsham, Tom Claassen, Shezad Dawood, Olafur Eliasson, Katherina Fritsch, Isa Genzken, Shilpi Gupta, Subodh Gupta, Mark Handforth, Jitish Kallat, Bruce Nauman, Ernesto Neto and Faye Toogood.
The expanded programme of public artworks began in July with the installation of Tom Claassen’s monumental sculpture 'Falcon' (2021) outside HIA, 'Untitled' (Trench, Shafts, Pit, Tunnel and Chamber) (1978) by American artist Bruce Nauman outside M7 in Msheireb Downtown Doha, and 'Two Orchids' (2015) by Isa Genzken outside of the National Theatre.
Other recent installations include 'Spooning' (2009) by Indian artist Subodh Gupta at M7 and 'Turquoise City' (2021) by American artist Mark Handforth in Msheireb, as part of Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture. Later this fall, German artist Katharina Fritsch’s newly commissioned iconic bright blue 'Hahn/Cock' will be unveiled at a prominent location in Doha.
With the goal of making art a part of everyday life, Qatar became one of the first countries in the Gulf to create a comprehensive contemporary public art programme. To date, the programme has grown to encompass around 70 works by more than 60 artists from Qatar, across the Middle East and around the world.
Current highlights include 'East/West-West/East' by Richard Serra in Zekreet, 'A Blessing in Disguise' by Ghada al-Khater at the Fire Station, 'Flag of Glory' by Ahmed al-Bahrani at the National Museum of Qatar, 'Untitled (Lamp/Bear)' by Urs Fischer at Hamad International Airport, 'Gandhi’s Three Monkeys' by Subodh Gupta at Katara - the Cultural Village, 'Maman' by Louise Bourgeois at Qatar National Convention Centre, 'The Miraculous Journey' by Damien Hirst at Sidra Medicine, 'Bench' by Saloua Raouda Choucair at the Museum of Islamic Art Park, 'Flying Man' by Dia al-Azzawi at HIA and many others.
QM’s public art programme also supports a variety of initiatives to engage people in Qatar with contemporary artists. These efforts include the 5/6 initiative, an annual open call inviting artists to propose a permanent public artwork to commemorate Qatar’s resilience; the Student Competition, inviting students to create temporary public artworks to be placed at sites around the city; and JEDARIART, an annual programme activating the city’s walls through murals, with the goal of enriching daily life and encouraging the community to reflect on social, historical and cultural issues.
Additional details will be announced in the coming months.