Slew of Public Art Coming to Qatar’s New Airport, Hamad International

Urs Fischer, Lamp Bear (2014) Courtesy Qatar Museums Authority

After years of delays, the first flights from Qatar’s Hamad International Airport took off this morning. Inside the gleaming, $17 billion structure, which replaces the aging Doha Airport, travelers are treated to a slew of new public art works, sponsored by the Qatar Museums Authority.

The series of installations will be unveiled over the course of the next year as airport construction is completed, expanding passenger capacity from 30 million per year to 50 million per year. The offering includes works and site-specific projects by international stars such as Adel Abdessemed, Maurizio Cattelan, Damien Hirst, Marc Quinn, Anselm Reyle, Rudolf Stingel, and Bill Viola. The first project to be unveiled is Urs Fischer’s Lamp Bear.

Local artists are represented as well. Among them, Farah Duham has painted a series of large scale murals and a sculpture by Ali Hassan will soon be installed.

Tom Otterness Playground (2014) Courtesy Qatar Museums Authority

Tom Otterness Playground (2014)
Courtesy Qatar Museums Authority

The project took over five years to develop. It is the latest effort by the Qatar Museums Authority, which is headed by Sheikha Al Mayassa Bint Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani and is widely recognized as the most significant buyer of art worldwide. Last year, the organization is estimated to have purchased or commissioned over $1 billion in art.

That makes it responsible for over two percent of the art industry’s global economic impact, according to TEFAF Report figures. That percentage does not even factor in ancillary effects the organization produces via employment and other art-related expenditures, which are included in TEFAF’s findings.

“In Qatar, culture is at the heart of its human and national development,” said a Qatar Museums Authority official in a statement regarding their ongoing commitment to investing in the arts. The organization, which seeks to expand the experience of art outside of museum walls,  has recently unvieled numerous other public installations such as Richard Serra’s East-West/West-East, located in the Brouq Nature Reserve, Damien Hirst’s The Miraculous Journey at the Sidra Medical and Research Center, and Louise Bourgeois’ Maman within the Qatar National Convention Center.

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