With the Fifa World Cup 2022 fast approaching in Doha, Qatar Museums (QM) has taken the initiative to transform public spaces, including parks, railway stations, hotels, Hamad International Airport, souks, deserts, and the game’s eight stadiums into art galleries or a “vast outdoor art museum” . QM has also announced an expansive public art program that will slowly but surely make its way to the entire country. The initiative— which sees 40 new pieces being added to the already existing 70 pieces across the country—is estimated to attract nearly one million plus visitors from all around the world, boosting Qatar’s tourist economy to new heights.
Among the artists commissioned for new works are renowned names like Olafur Eliasson, Jeff Koons, Yayoi Kusama, KAWS, Rashid Johnson, Ernesto Neto, Lawrence Weiner, Faye Toogood, Katharina Fritsch, and others. Qatari and MENA region artists whose work will be presented include Adel Abidin, Ahmed Al-Bahrani, Shouq Al-Mana, Shua’a Al-Muftah, Salman Al-Malek, Monira Al-Qadiri, Simone Fattal and Faraj Daham.
In a statement, HH Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, chairperson of Qatar Museums, said, “The addition of 40 new, major works of public art this fall is a significant milestone for Qatar’s public art program. Public art is one of our most prominent demonstrations of cultural exchange, where we present works from artists of all nationalities and backgrounds. From the arrivals at the best airport in the world — Hamad International Airport — to every neighborhood in our nation, public art is there to make your experience unique.”
Qatar is no stranger to the world of artistic creativity. It was one of the first countries in the GCC region to hold a public art exhibit, featuring works from international artists including Richard Serra, Tom Claaseen, Bruce Nauman, Louise Bourgeois, Urs Fischer, Subodh Gupta, among others.