Drawing the Landscape – Olafur Eliasson, Simone Fattal and Ernesto Neto in Qatar

Iwan Baan,

Doha, Qatar,


Simone Fattal, Olafur Eliasson, Ernesto Neto,

The Qatar Museum presented the site-specific installations created by artists Olafur Eliasson, Simone Fattal and Ernesto Neto as part of the cultural programme to transform public places in Qatar into open-air museums, also in view of the upcoming Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Drawing the Landscape – Olafur Eliasson, Simone Fattal and Ernesto Neto in Qatar

On October 28, the new site-specific installations created by artists Olafur Eliasson, Simone Fattal and Ernesto Neto for the Al Zubarah and Ain Mohammed cultural sites located in Qatar’s northernmost region were officially unveiled. The works are part of the ambitious cultural programme underway in the country, which will also accompany the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 set to kick off on November 20. More than one hundred works of art will transform the public spaces of Doha and other important Qatari sites into open-air museums.
The works created by the three artists were installed at the Al Zubarah archaeological site, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a place considered to be of great importance for Qatar’s national identity, as well as in the nearby abandoned village of Ain Mohammed. Al Zubarah was an ancient fortified coastal town that became famous in the late 18th and early 19th centuries as a fishing and pearl trade centre. Destroyed and abandoned for over one hundred years, the town was protected by the desert sand that covered all its structures, from buildings to fisherman's huts, from mosques to streets and the harbour.
With the Shadows travelling on the sea of the day (2022) work, artist Olafur Eliasson continues his research into human perception and the natural world. His installation evokes the typical designs of the Islamic culture of the Middle Ages, governed by mathematical principles that have only recently been discovered. As the artist explains, the work becomes a celebration of everything that lies in the desert north of Doha and, through the play of mirrors, an invitation to look inside ourselves and reflect on our relationship with the Earth.
Maqam I, Maqam II, Maqam III (2021), instead, are the three monumental sculptures created by Lebanese artist Simone Fattal to appear as geographical landmarks, presenting shapes reminiscent of the archetypes of the Qatari landscape and history.
Finally, Slug Turtle, TemplEarth (2022), the installation conceived by Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto, is a tribute to the Earth and to the natural environment, a space where visitors can meditate and connect with the Earth and the desert.
The cultural programme organised by the Qatar Museum involves artists from all over the world commissioned to create engaging narratives for the public, protecting and enhancing the national heritage. An initiative that aims to project the country onto the international cultural stage, as well as having important social implications: to promote a sense of responsibility and protection of Qatar’s rich cultural heritage among the local public.

(Agnese Bifulco)

Images courtesy of Qatar Museum photo by Iwan Baan

Captions and Credits

Olafur Eliasson, سفر الظلال في بحر النهار (Shadows travelling on the sea of the day), 2022. 
Steel, fibreglass, glass mirrors. 4.53 metre | ø Diameter 10.509 metre | ø Diameter 8.2 metre | 8.2 metre.
Installation view: Doha, Qatar, 2022. 
Photo: Iwan Baan. Courtesy of the artist; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles. © 2022 Olafur Eliasson
Ernesto Neto SlugTurtle, TemplEarth 2022
Steel, recycled polyester crochet net, glazed ceramic globe, wooden posts, rubber balls, cotton fabric and wadding, dry grass, clove, plants 302 x 1784 x 2342 cm
Courtesy Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York and Los Angeles; Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel, São Paulo e Rio de Janeiro
Photo by Iwan Baan 
[Commissioned by Qatar Museums]