As part of Qatar Creates — the year-round national cultural movement that curates, promotes, and celebrates the diversity of cultural activities in the country – Qatar Museums (QM) announced Tuesday a programme of 40 new and commissioned public artworks by celebrated Qatari, regional and international artists.
From the Qatari desert to the bustling Souq Waqif, the nation’s public spaces will be transformed into a vast outdoor art museum experience in the coming weeks, featuring more than 100 public artworks, a statement said.
These installations will be on view for locals and the 1.5mn visitors who are expected to travel to Doha for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
Saloua Raouda Choucair's Bench
QM chairperson HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani said: “The addition of 40 new, major works of public art this fall is a significant milestone for Qatar’s public art programme. Public art is one of our most prominent demonstrations of cultural exchange, where we present works from artists of all nationalities and backgrounds.
“From the arrivals at the best airport in the world — Hamad International Airport (HIA) — to every neighbourhood in our nation, public art is there to make your experience unique. These works vary in size and form, and they encompass a wide range of subject matter, but all further our mission to make art more accessible, engage our publics, celebrate our heritage, and embrace the cultures of others.
Shua’a Ali's Milestones
“More importantly, artists from every corner of the world — representing all continents — have been invited to express their artistic creativity with our very own diverse population. Our longstanding commitment to public art is visible across Qatar, and we hope these works will be welcomed by locals and enhance the experiences had by the millions of visitors we expect to welcome to Doha this year.”
QM is working with various entities across the city on Qatar’s public art programme, including HIA, the Supreme Committee of Delivery and Legacy, and the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) to install artworks in a variety of both highly trafficked and unexpected public spaces designed to surprise and delight passersby including parks, shopping areas, educational and athletic facilities, HIA, and Q-Rail stations, as well as stadiums that will host the World Cup matches.
Damien Hirst's The Miraculous Journey
Highlights of the new public artworks include:
- Maqam I, Maqam II, Maqam III (2022) by Lebanese artist Simone Fattal for which she has created three sculptures in a blue coloured granite with a manifold shape that can be perceived at once as a dune, a construction or a tent that appear to be geographical landmarks
- Dugong (2022), a massive, approximately 21m high and 31m wide polychromed mirror-polished stainless-steel sculpture by American artist Jeff Koons in the form of a Dugong, the marine mammal that has inhabited the waters surrounding Qatar's peninsula for centuries, on view at Al Masrah Park
Katharina Fritsch's Hahn
- Along with Iraqi sculptor Ahmed al-Bahrani’s Dugong Family installation in Al Ruwais celebrating the Dugong
- A collection of temporary sculptures and installations by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama – including My Soul Blooms Forever (2019), Flower that Speaks All About My Heart (2018), Dancing Pumpkin (2020), and Narcissus Garden, among others – on view on the grounds of the Museum of Islamic Art and MIA Park
- A site-specific artwork in the desert by Olafur Eliasson that continues the artist’s long-standing exploration into the role that our perception of the world plays in how we co-produce reality
Tom Claassen's Falcon
- German artist Katharina Fritsch’s newly installed iconic bright blue Hahn (2021) on view at the iconic Sheraton Grand Doha Resort & Convention Hotel
- Commissioned works by Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto, including an installation in the Qatari desert titled Slug Turtle, TemplEarth (2022), and CocoonEarth, Our Goal is the Life (2022)
- KAWS’ site-specific commission The Promise (2022), depicting the American artist’s companion figures in a tender gesture suggesting a parent carefully passing the globe to the hands of a child, unique piece for the future Dadu, Qatar Children’s Museum and on view at its park
Shouq al-Mana's Egal
- Doha Mountains by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone, on view along Doha’s Ras Abou Aboud beachfront near 974 Stadium, echoes the Olympic Ring colours that encircle the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum
- A mosaic installation comprising four walls titled Qatari Walls "Village of the Sun" (2022) by American artist Rashid Johnson
- Doha Modern Playground (2022), a site-responsive playground inspired by a group of four key modernist buildings in Doha, by Shezad Dawood at Al Masrah Park
- Monira Al Qadiri’s Zephyr (2022) is a large-scale recreation of a microscopic organism seen in fossilised marine algae found in the Arabian Peninsula. The Kuwaiti artist’s work is located along the West Bay’s North Beach
Mark Handforth's Turquoise City
- Peter Fischli & David Weiss’s sculpture Rock on Top of Another Rock (2022) is made up of two nearly 30-ton boulders that are stacked and balanced without aid, on view at the Qatar National Theatre. The installation is the last work created by the Swiss artist duo.
- A series of sculptures by Korean artist Suki Seokyeong Kang titled Here We Hear (2022) in the Corniche Park that encourages spectators to congregate and interact with one another
KAWS' Small Lie
- I Live Under Your Sky Too (2022), a light installation by Shilpa Gupta in the form of an animated sentence in which the Indian artist’s handwriting rises and shines from lines of a ruled book to read “I Live Under Your Sky Too” in three interwoven languages, at Stadium 974
- American conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner’s All The Stars In The Sky Have The Same Face (2011/20) installed at Stadium 974
- Inspired by construction debris and location marks (Neshan) found in both urban and desert environments, Qatari artist Shua’a Ali’s Tawazun (2022) in Msheireb and Milestones (2022) in Grand Hamad Plaza explore the relationship between past and present-day Doha using symbolic stacking of materials to create visionary, balanced, agglomerative sculptural forms
Simone Fattal, Gates to the Sea
- The site-specific work Us, Her, Him (2022) by Lebanese artist Najla El Zein on view at the Flag Plaza along the Corniche that will explore the relationship between form, use, space and emotion through themes relating to abstract conceptions of the body
- American artist Faye Toogood’s Clay Court (2022), an immersive display of 17 hand-shaped sculptures, located around the National Theatre site
- The enormous Gekröse (2011) is one of Austrian artist Franz West’s (1947-2012) largest works, presenting a monumental, wielded aluminum sculpture that is as imposing as it is whimsical, in bright pink hues, that may concurrently attract and shock viewers at Al Masrah Park
Tom Otterness' Worlds
- Iraqi artist Adel Abidin’s light installation They Asked Me to Change It, and I Agreed (2022) on the façade of Mathaf, which explores contemporary art as a means of dialogue and change and adds to the existing works Al-Safina (The Ship) by Egyptian artist Adam Henein and The Guardian of the Fertile Crescent (2001-2010) by the late Iraqi painter and sculptor Ismail Fattah
- Qatari artists Shouq al-Mana’s Egal (2022), which is installed along the Lusail Marina Promenade serves as a tribute to Qatar’s history and traditions
QM’s Public Art director Abdulrahman Ahmed al-Ishaq said: “Doha is a vibrant destination, and adding more than 40 new public art installations will further transform the city into a dynamic urban canvas that serves to spark conversations and provide sources of inspiration for all. QM’s public art programme, more than anything else, serves as a reminder that art is all around us, not confined to museums and galleries, and can be enjoyed and celebrated whether you are going to work, or school, or the desert or the beach.”
Qatari and Mena region artists whose work will be presented in the public art programme include Adel Abidin, Ahmed al-Bahrani, Shouq al-Mana, Shua’a al-Muftah, Salman al-Malek, Monira al-Qadiri, Simone Fattal, and Faraj Daham.
Subodh Gupta's Spooning
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 approximately 70 works by more than 60 artists from Qatar, across the MENA region, and around the world. Current highlights include Richard Serra’s 7 at MIA Park and East/West-West/East in Zekreet, Tom Claassen’s Falcon (2021) at HIA, A Blessing in Disguise by Ghada al-Khater at the Fire Station, Bruce Nauman’s Untitled (Trench, Shafts, Pit, Tunnel and Chamber) at M7, Flag of Glory by Ahmed al-Bahrani at the National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ), Untitled (Lamp/Bear) by Urs Fischer at HIA, Gandhi’s Three Monkeys by Subodh Gupta at Katara – the Cultural Village, Maman by Louise Bourgeois at the Qatar National Convention Centre, The Miraculous Journey by Damien Hirst at Sidra Medical Centre, Bench by Saloua Raouda Choucair at MIA Park, Flying Man by Dia al-Azzawi at HIA, and many others.