Qatar Museums to transform Qatar into an outdoor art museum

Doha: Be ready to see a vast outdoor art museum as Qatar Museums (QM) is set to install over 40 new and commissioned public artworks in Qatar in line with the celebration of Qatar hosting the FIFA World Cup 2022 Games. It will run starting yesterday until the opening of World Cup in November next year.

H E Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, QM Chairperson 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 (HIA).” 

The installation will be on HIA, Qatar Rail stations, selected stadiums that will host the World Cup Games, parks, shopping areas, educational and athletic facilities. QM is working closely now with HIA, the Supreme Committee of Legacy and Delivery and the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) for the said public art programme.

Abdulrahman Ahmed Al Ishaq, QM Public Art department  Director said: “The addition of more than 40 installations all over Doha and throughout the country is a representative of Qatar Museums’ commitment to its public art program, which enlivens the spaces we share, encourages dialogue among countless people, and provides sources of inspiration that are always accessible.”

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 over 100, making it one of the most ambitious public art programmes in the world. Qatari and Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region artists to be represented include Adel Abidin, Mohammed 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 2021 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 of M7 in Msheireb Downtown Doha and Two Orchids (2015) by Isa Genzken outside of the National Theater. 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 in a prominent location in Doha.

With the goal of making art part of everyday life, Qatar became one of the first countries in the Gulf to create a comprehensive contemporary public art program. 

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 HIA, Gandhi’s Three Monkeys by Subodh Gupta at Katara 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 Hamad International Airport, and many others.