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Qatar Is Transforming Into Outdoor Museum Ahead of FIFA World Cup

Featuring more than 100 public artworks

Qatar is gearing up for the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2022, set to kick off on November 21. After erecting brand new stadiums, ultra-modern cities, and a myriad of futuristic installations specifically for the occasion, the Gulf country is, once again, going the extra mile to ensure the forthcoming football tournament is one for the history books. This week, Qatar Museums revealed that a country-wide program will be rolled out in Doha, and several other cities in the emirate, turning public spaces, including parks, rail stations, and plazas, into a “vast outdoor art museum.”

As the football tournament is expected to attract millions of visitors, Qatar will seek to place the onus on the world of art for tourists to enjoy, with an expected 40 new pieces being added to the already existing 70 works currently displayed across the country. 

“Qatar Museums’ public art program, more than anything else, serves as a reminder that art is all around us, not confined to museums and galleries, and can be enjoyed and celebrated whether you are going to work, or school, or the desert or the beach,” said Abdulrahman Ahmed Al-Ishaq, Qatar Museums’ Director of Public Art, in a statement.

According to Qatar Museums’ recently shared press release, the emirate is among one of the first in the region to establish a public art program, which, as of right now, includes works from Richard Serra, Tom Claaseen, Bruce Nauman, Louise Bourgeois, Urs Fischer, Subodh Gupta, Dia Al-Azzawi, and others. 

Other high-profile artists, hailing from all over the world, have been commissioned to take part in this wide-scale project. They are: Olafur Eliasson, Jeff Koons, Yayoi Kusama, KAWS, Rashid Johnson, Ernesto Neto, Lawrence Weiner, Faye Toogood, and Katharina Fritsch, among others. The region’s promisingtalents will also be put under the spotlight with creatives like Adel Abidin, Ahmed Al-Bahrani, Shouq Al-Mana, Shua’a Al-Muftah, Salman Al-Malek, Monira Al-Qadiri, Simone Fattal. and Faraj Daham being listed as part of the forthcoming art program. 

Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, chairperson of Qatar Museums, said in the released statement: “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.”

Set to be rolled out in the next few weeks, Qatar is setting a colorful tone to the World Cup that we cannot wait to see go live on the emirates’ streets. 

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