Qatar is due to host the FIFA World Cup from 21 November 2022. Alongside the construction of the stadiums and facilities needed to host the major sporting event, the country has embarked on an intense cultural development program to become a major art, culture and education center for the whole Middle East. To make it happen, Qatari museums, institutions and cultural heritage sites have been brought together and coordinated by Qatar Museums (QM). The institution has recently launched a new initiative for public spaces and included it within Qatar Creates, a national cultural movement that annually promotes the various cultural activities in the country. The program was presented on 9 August and involves creating 40 new site-specific works in as many public spaces. These installations of different sizes, shapes and materials, have been commissioned from leading international, regional and Qatari artists. The works will be distributed around the various districts of the capital and in other parts of the country, from Hamad International Airport to the stadiums hosting the World Cup matches, from the desert to the lively Souq Waqif in Doha, Q-Rail stations, parks, shopping areas, and various educational and athletic facilities, transforming the whole country into a large open-air art museum to help spread an idea of contemporary art to be celebrated in everyday life, rather than being locked up in galleries and museums.
Artists representing every continent have been invited to create the works, expressing their creativity by drawing inspiration from the culture and the varied local population. The intention is to celebrate the local heritage, but also to open up to other cultures of the world.
The new installations include: Egal (2022) by Qatari artist Shouq Al Mana, installed along the Lusail Marina to pay tribute to the history and traditions of Qatar.
Dugong (2022) by American artist Jeff Koons, on display at Al Masrah park, a stainless steel sculpture, about 21 meters high and 31 meters wide, representing a Dugong, the now endangered marine mammal native to the waters of the Qatar. The most important works include: 7 at the MIA Park and East-West/West-East at Zekreet by Richard Serra, Falcon by Tom Claassen at Hamad International Airport, Gandhi’s Three Monkeys by Subodh Gupta at the Katara Cultural Village, Maman by Louise Bourgeois at the Qatar National Convention Centre, The Miraculous Journey by Damien Hirst at the Sidra Medical Centre, Bench by Saloua Raouda Choucair at the MIA Park.
Captions and credits
All images photo copyright Iwan Baan. Courtesy of Qatar Museums.
01: Shouq Al Mana (b. 1995, Qatar) Egal, 2022 - Lusail Marina, Photo copyright Iwan Baan. Courtesy of Qatar Museums.
02: Saloua Raouda Choucair (1916–2017, Lebanon) Bench, ca. 1969–71 MIA Park, Photo copyright Iwan Baan. Courtesy of Qatar Museums.
03: Shua’a Ali (b. 1974, Qatar) Tawazun, 2022 - Msheireb, Downtown Doha on Sikkat Al Wadi, Photo copyright Iwan Baan. Courtesy of Qatar Museums.
04: Shua’a Ali (b. 1974, Qatar) Milestones, 2022 - Grand Hamad Street
05: César Baldaccini (1921–1998, France) - Le Pouce (Thumb), 1965-2016, Souq Waqif
06: Louise Bourgeois (1911–2020, France-United States) Maman, 2012 - Qatar National Convention Center, Qatar Foundation
07: Tom Claassen (b. 1964, The Netherlands), Falcon, 2021 - Hamad International Airport (HIA) Entrance of Departures terminal
08: Martin Creed (b. 1968, United Kingdom) 1361, 2019 - Sheraton Hall
09: Faraj Daham (b. 1956, Qatar), The Ship, 2022 - Al Janoub Stadium
10: Simone Fattal (b. 1942, Lebanon) - Gates to the Sea, 2019 - National Museum of Qatar
11: Urs Fischer (b. 1973, Switzerland), Untitled Lamp/Bear, 2005-2006 - Hamad International Airport (HIA) - Retail Gallery Departure Hall
12: Katharina Fritsch (b. 1956, Germany) Hahn, 2013 - Sheraton Hotel, Katara Hospitality
13: Isa Genzken (b. 1948, Germany) Two Orchids, 2015 Qatar National Theatre
14: Subodh Gupta (b. 1964, India), Spooning, 2009, M7, 2nd floor, Msheireb Downtown Doha
15: Subodh Gupta (b. 1964, India), Gandhi’s Three Monkeys, 2012 - Katara Cultural Village
16: Mark Handforth (b. 1969, United Kingdom), Turquoise City, 2021 - Msheireb Downtown Doha
17: Damien Hirst (b. 1965, United Kingdom), The Miraculous Journey, 2013 - Sidra Medical Centre 18: KAWS (b. 1974, United States) SMALL LIE, 2018, Hamad International Airport (HIA) Concourse C
19: Tom Otterness (b. 1952, United States), Worlds, 2012 Hamad International Airport (HIA) Concourse C, Departures
20: Daniel Arsham (b. 1980, United States) Sports Ball Galaxy, 2012 - 3-2-1 Qatar Olympics Sports Museum
21: Richard Serra (b. 1938, United States), East-West/West-East, 2014, Brouq Nature Reserve, Zekreet
22 - 23: Richard Serra (b. 1938, United States), 7, 2011 - MIA Park
24: Tony Smith (b. 1912–1980, United States), Smoke, 2015 - Doha Exhibition & Convention Centre (DECC)
25: Faye Toogood (b. 1977, United Kingdom) Clay Court, 2022 - Qatar National Theatre