Public art in Qatar

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The Qatar Museums (QM) Public Art Department is responsible for overseeing the installation of artwork by renowned artists in the public realm in Qatar, creating an artist residency program for young local artists to help them develop their skills and horizons,[1] organizing exhibitions featuring international artists and developing an online community of creative talent in Qatar and beyond. The QM has an ambitious plan that aims to make Qatar a world class cultural destination, notably in modern and contemporary art.[2]

Sheikha Al Mayassa Bint Hamad Al Thani, QM Chairperson has said: “Through displaying various forms of art in public space, we aim to inspire local talent and establish an organic connection between art and the local community.”

Public Art at Hamad International Airport[edit]

QM were planning to introduce travellers and visitors to the growing culture and art scene in Qatar before they even set foot out of the new Hamad International Airport. With several art installations in place, one of which is the Lamp/Bear by Urs Fischer,[3] and more planned to be installed.

Untitled (Lamp/Bear) by Urs Fischer[edit]

The Untitled (Lamp/Bear) will be situated in the main space as part of the retail Gallery at the new Hamad International Airport.[3]

Cube by Ahmed Al Bahrani[edit]

Bronze sculpture by Ahmed Al Bahrani, depicting a 1.5 m bronze cube.

Tom Otterness[edit]

Tom Otterness (born 1952) is an American sculptor best known as one of America’s most prolific public artists.[4]


A bronze sculpture from the Playground installation on public display in Hamad International Airport.

The Playground sculptures number from 20 to 30 and were made to be of various cultural backgrounds.[5] There will eventually be three separate installations at the airport titled "Playground", two of which have already been installed:

  • Activity Node 3 – Bronze
  • Activity Node 4 – Bronze

Other Worlds[edit]

Other Worlds is an installation consisting of eight bronze sculptures placed in Terminal C.[6] It was completed in 2014, and features functional playgrounds as well as human sculptures.[7]

Oryxes by Tom Claassen[edit]

Tom Claassen, a Dutch artist, produced a series of Arabian oryx sculpture pieces in bronze.[8] These are currently situated in the East Garden Court of the new Hamad International Airport.

Mappes Monde by Adel Abdessemed[edit]

Adel Abdessemed created two pieces of artwork for the Hamad International Airport titled "Mappes Monde". The installation features two global maps which were modeled from tin cans.[9] They are identified as Day and Night and are large printed steel pieces which hang on the walls at the Concourse A Pierhead.

"Capture the Essence of Qatar" Photographic Competition Winners[edit]

"Capture the Essence of Qatar" was a juried photography competition by Qatar Museums and Hamad International Airport allowing participants to showcase their very best creative and imaginative images of Qatar in digital photography.

The competition celebrates the achievements of Qatar, past and present, and the passion of the people who live and work within it. It aims to represent the country's heritage, culture and the Qatar National Vision 2030 under one of the four main pillars of the vision:

  • Human Development
  • Social Development
  • Economic Development
  • Environmental Development

Four winners were selected and represented at the new Hamad International Airport in the Departure Hall on large screens.

Paintings by local Qatari artists[edit]

A number of local artists have been selected by the Qatar Museums to have their artwork displayed in various lounges and public spaces around the airport.

  • Dialogue with self 1, Amal Al Aathem
  • Relaxations, Salman Al Malik
  • Steps, Salman Al Malik
  • Reflection of a Man, Amal Al Rabban
  • Heart 1, Mubarak Al Malik
  • Heart 2, Mubarak Al Malik
  • Calligraphy 1, Hessa Kalla
  • Depth 1, Ahmed Al Hamar
  • Depth 2, Ahmed Al Hamar
  • Heritage 2, Wadha Al Sulaiti
  • Heritage 3, Wadha Al Sulaiti
  • Shift to Light I, Yousef Ahmad
  • Shift to Light II, Yousef Ahmad
  • Shift to Light III, Yousef Ahmad

Maman by Louise Bourgeois[edit]

Maman, a 30-foot-tall bronze-cast spider sculpture located at the Qatar National Convention Center of Qatar Foundation, is an ode from renowned French-American artist Louise Bourgeois to her mother who worked as a weaver in France.[10]

7 by Richard Serra[edit]

The sculpture is very popular to viewers around the world and has made appearances in several cities such as London, Paris, Geneva, Buenos Aires and St Petersburg. Commissioned by the QM, Richard Serra's landmark 7, an 80-foot steel sculpture, is the tallest public art piece in Qatar and the tallest Richard Serra has ever conceived. As a focal point of MIA Park, the sculpture is also Serra’s first sculpture to be showcased in the Middle East.[11] Constructed from seven steel plates arranged in a heptagonal shape, the work celebrates the scientific and spiritual significance of the number seven in Islamic culture.[12]

East-West/West-East by Richard Serra[edit]

Richard Serra Installation in Qatar titled 'East-West/West-East'

Qatar Museums unveiled a major landscape commission, East-West/West-East, by American artist Richard Serra for the Brouq Nature Reserve, near Zekreet in western Qatar, approximately 60 kilometres from the capital Doha, GPS: N25° 31.019’ E50° 51.948’[13]

Set in a natural corridor formed by gypsum plateaus, East-West/West-East spans over a kilometre in length, and crosses the peninsula of the Brouq Nature Reserve connecting the waters of the Gulf. East-West/West-East consists of four steel plates measured by their relation to the topography. The plates, which rise to 14.7 meters and 16.7 meters above the ground, are level to each other; they are also level to the gypsum plateaus on either side. Despite the great distance that the plates span, all four can be seen and explored from either end of the sculpture.

Gandhi's Three Monkeys by Subodh Gupta[edit]

Gandhi's Three Monkeys by Indian artist Subodh Gupta

Three sculptures by Indian artist Subodh Gupta, Gandhi's Three Monkeys were installed at Katara Cultural Village. As homage to India's famous leader of peace, Mahatma Gandhi, Gupta uses steel and worn brass domestic utensils to form a soldier, a terrorist and a man wearing a gas mask to represent Gandhi's three monkeys “See no evil, Hear no evil, Speak no evil”.[14]

Perceval by Sarah Lucas[edit]

'Perceval' by Sarah Lucas

Perceval by British artist Sarah Lucas is a life-sized bronze sculpture of a Shire horse pulling a cart with two oversized squash installed at the Aspire Park in Doha. The subject matter reflects Lucas' fondness for re-examining everyday objects in unusual contexts.[15]

eL Seed in Doha: Calligraffiti Project[edit]

One of eL Seed's 52 murals on Salwa Road, Doha, Qatar

QM's Public Art Department and the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) commissioned French-Tunisian eL Seed to adorn four underground tunnels on Salwa Road with calligraffiti murals. Each of the 52 murals features unique themes inspired by anecdotes from Qatari culture and markers of Qatari life.[16]

Healthy Living From The Start by Anne Geddes[edit]

The QM commissioned Anne Geddes to produce a series of 12 images capturing local athletes with newborn babies and young children. Located at the main hallway of the Women’s Hospital affiliated with the Hamad Medical Corporation, the images are part of an initiative by QMA Chairperson to raise awareness on Diabetes 2 and the importance of engaging in sports activities at an early age.[17]

The Miraculous Journey by Damien Hirst[edit]

Qatar Museums unveils Public Art commission by British artist Damien Hirst Statues 8-14, credit Nadine Al Koudsi

The Miraculous Journey (2005 – 2013) by British Artist Damien Hirst consists of 14 gigantic bronze sculptures that chart the gestation of a human being from conception to birth, ending with a statue of a 46-foot-tall anatomically correct baby boy.[18] The installation is located in front of the Sidra Medical and Research Center, a new academic medical facility specialising in patient care for women and children in Qatar. The figures range in height from 4.8 metres to 10.7 metres, and weigh between 9 and 28 tonnes each.[19]

Buscando la luz IV by Eduardo Chillida[edit]

Qatar Museums unveils Public Art commission by the Basque artist Eduardo Chillida at Qatar University, Doha, Qatar. Buscando la luz IV (Searching for Light IV) is the last among a series of sculptures of monumental scale produced by the Basque artist Eduardo Chillida throughout his final creative period. The abstract piece integrates in itself the fundamental concepts inside the artist’s labor. The dialogue between matter and space; the creation of sites; the organic nature of forms; and a strong ethical content are all notions that conform Chillida’s body of work. The three asymmetrical steel plates that compose the sculpture are linked to each other through a complex riveting system, which delimitates in its interior a place for human encounters. The artist plays with the scale and invites us to enter the interior space of the work. Once inside, its undulant forms appear to acquire movement, raising up in search of the light.


  1. ^ Doha Fire Station to turn into artist hub Qatar Tribune, 6 March 2014
  2. ^ Qatar revealed as the world’s biggest contemporary art buyer
  3. ^ a b "$6.8mn Urs Fischer's installation major attraction at HIA". Qatar Tribune. 4 December 2013. Retrieved 18 September 2015. 
  4. ^ Carducci, Vince
  5. ^ Mary Thomas (13 September 2015). "'Playground' sculpture invites kids to clamber at Aspinwall Riverfront Park". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 19 September 2015. 
  6. ^ Gary Peters (17 September 2015). "The world of airport art: memorable and divisive". Retrieved 19 September 2015. [unreliable source?]
  7. ^ "Tom Otterness: Other Worlds (Press release)" (PDF). Marlborough Gallery. 2014. Retrieved 19 September 2015. 
  8. ^ "Stunning artworks add glamour to new airport". The Peninsula Qatar. 30 April 2014. Retrieved 19 September 2015. 
  9. ^ "Adel Abdessemed L'âge d'or". artsQatar. 2 September 2013. Retrieved 19 September 2015. 
  10. ^ Why there is an enormous spider sculpture at Qatar’s National Convention Center
  11. ^ "7" Up: Richard Serra Unveils New Sculpture in Doha, 20 December 2011
  12. ^ Richard Serra: 7 sculpture at the museum of Islamic art, Doha
  13. ^ The Independent, 21 April 2014
  14. ^ Gandhi’s Three Monkeys at Katara
  15. ^ QMA instals sculpture by UK artist at Aspire Park in The Peninsula, 22 November 2012
  16. ^ Top aritist’s ‘calligraffiti’ mural brightens up Salwa Road tunnel in the Gulf Times, 29 January 2013
  17. ^ Anne Geddes Exhibition at Hamad Hospital, 7 October 2013
  18. ^ Art, From Conception to Birth in Qatar; Damien Hirst’s Anatomical Sculptures Have Their Debut in New York Times, 7 October 2013
  19. ^ Qatar unveils Hirst's 'Miraculous Journey' in AFP, 10 October 2013

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