With a sprawling and ever-expanding number of permanent public art installations around the city, we give you our list of the top eight.
Since the formation of Qatar Museums Authority – now formally Qatar Museums – back in 2005, the organisation has spent billions on public art alone. Already this year we have witnessed the unveiling of Richard Serra’s second public art piece in Qatar, alongside the recent unveiling of art in Hamad International Airport and there is plenty more where those came from.
Who? Richard Serra
Where? Brouq Nature Reserve
When? April, 2014
Drive 60 kilometres west of Doha, through Qatar’s empty, arid landscape, and you’ll see four dark lines rise on the horizon. Up close, they are four rectangular panels of steel, each over 14 metres tall and spaced over one kilometre. This is a new permanent installation created by Richard Serra, a sculptor from the US.
Who? Damien Hirst
What? The Miraculous Journey
Where? Sidra Medical and Research
When? October, 2013
Unveiled to the sound of a verse from the holy Qu’ran, about the creation of a child, notable British artist Damien Hirst brought to us 14 monumental pieces of art on the eve of his largest exhibition to date, and his first in the Middle East, last year. ‘The Miraculous Journey’ depicts the formation of twins and narrates the various stages of foetal development.
Who? Subodh Gupta
What? Gandhi’s Three Monkeys
Where? Katara Cultural Village
When? May, 2012
The three pieces that make up Indian artist Subodh Gupta’s ‘Gandhi’s Three Monkeys’ were installed at Katara in 2012. They’re made from bronze, steel, and old utensils, and refer to India’s famous hero of peace, Mahatma Gandhi. The installations show a soldier’s helmet, a terrorist’s hood and a gas mask.
Who? Louise Bourgeois
Where? Qatar National Convention Centre
The 30-foot-tall bronze-cast spider sculpture called ‘Maman’ is still standing tall in its permanent home at QNCC. The monumental spider was part of an exhibition in 2012 depicting the bond of motherhood. It reflects the artist’s own experience through the strength of her mother with metaphors of spinning, weaving, nurturing and protection.
Who? Richard Serra
Where? Museum of Islamic Art Park
When? December, 2011
Marking out the corniche is Richard Serra’s towering sculpture titled ‘7’ - his tallest ever. Seven is a mystical number in Islamic culture; and minarets formed part of the inspiration behind the piece. Overall, it took one million man hours and one year to build. Enter the 80-foot steel structure and look up; the beams of steel seem to connect at the top in a heptagon, similar to the shape of a camera shutter.
Who? El Seed
Where? Salwa Road tunnels
When? January, 2013
This French-Tunisian artist has tagged cities across the Middle East, but his GCC debut started in Qatar when Qatar Museums commissioned him to paint graffiti murals on the then dire-looking underpasses of Salwa Road. El Seed spent four months completing these tags that span the highway, covering an overwhelming 730 metres across 52 concrete surfaces.
Who? Anne Geddes
What? Healthy Living From The Start
Where? Hamad Medical Corporation’s Women’s Hospital
When? October, 2013
In a bid to promote a healthy lifestyle to residents of Qatar, Qatar Museums teamed up with the celebrity baby photographer Anne Geddes to take eye-catching portraits of new-born babies. Collaborating with local athletes, twelve images feature past and current sportspersons and children of various ages in order to demonstrate that a healthy lifestyle starts at childhood.
Who? Sarah Lucas
Where? Aspire Park
When? November, 2012
While enjoying your weekend in Aspire Park, you can relish the striking work of British artist Sarah Lucas. ‘Perceval’, the life-sized bronze sculpture of a Shire horse pulling a cart overflowing with two giant marrows, stands 2.3 metres tall. Lucas’ sculpture is a replica of a popular ornament that adorns many mantelpieces in the UK, while its name is of a knight in King Arthur’s court in the late 12th century.
Art at the airport
The brand new Hamad International Airport (HIA), which fully opened last month, will house many pieces of art with a mixture of site-specific commissions as well as private acquisitions. The first of the installations is ‘Lamp Bear’ by the Swiss artist Urs Fischer, while Dutch artist Tom Claassen has produced a series of sculptures specific to the Arab world. With works being revealed over the coming year, international artists include: Adel Abdessemed, Dia Azzawi, Ahmed Al Bahrani, Maurizio Cattelan, Don Gummer, Keith Haring, Damien Hirst, Jenny Holzer. On a local level, Qatari artist Faraj Duham has been commissioned to create large-scale murals, while another Qatari Ali Hassan is producing an iconic desert horse sculpture. Other local artists that will be involved include Mohammed Aljaida, Mubarak Al Malik, Amal Alatham and Yousif Ahmed.