NEW WORKS CREATED
Adding another layer of emotion and imagination to the museum experience, NMoQ has commissioned a roster of local, regional, and international artists to create new works, installed both inside the building and outside on the expansive grounds. HE Sheikha Al Mayassa, Chairperson of Qatar Museums, guided the selection process for the commissions.
“From the very beginning, we were determined that the National Museum of Qatar would be much more than a showcase for a collection. It is now time to reveal the eight-year-long process that has given form and substance to the content of this Museum, and to make public many of the artists and filmmakers who have helped us make this a museum with a heart.”
A sculpture by the Lebanese artist Simone Fattal, Gates of the Sea, is installed on the walkway toward the museum’s entrance. Speaking to a sense that the past is still vivid in the present, the work is inspired by the ancient petroglyphs found in Qatar at Al Jassasiya.
French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel conceived his largest installation ever on the 900-meter-long lagoon that is a key feature of the surrounding landscaped park. Titled ALFA, it comprises 114 individual black fountains, shaped to resemble Arabic calligraphy or the tall reeds that calligraphers use to make their pens, which are activated once an hour.
Ahmed Al Bahrani
The sculpture Flag of Glory by Iraqi artist Ahmed Al Bahrani, installed in the Baraha, or central court, embodies the story behind the annual national day celebration, with an image of diverse hands united in holding up the flag of Qatar.
Located near the Old Palace, a sculptural group by French artist Roch Vandromme, On Their Way, comprises the figures of four camels, evoking Qatar’s long history of nomadic lifestyle and trade.
Qatari artist Ali Hassan’s wall installation, Wisdom of a Nation, welcomes visitors immediately inside the museum building. The geometric design draws on the image of the Qatari flag and an excerpt from a poem by the founder of modern-day Qatar, Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani.
Hassan bin Mohammed Al Thani
Motherland, by Qatari artist Hassan bin Mohammed Al Thani stands at the entrance to the permanent galleries. This large-scale sculpture evokes the connections between the desert, the sea, and the women of Qatar.
Aisha Nasser Al Sowaidi
Qatari artist Aisha Nasser Al Sowaidi's work, Central Midkhan, located in the VIP Lounge, takes the idea of a traditional and local ritual and transforms it into a global concept of home systems. Al Sowaidi is a graduate of the prestigious Fire Station: Artist in Residence programme and participant in the internationally-acclaimed Contemporary Art Qatar exhibitions.
Bouthayna Al Muftah
Bouthayna Al Muftah, one of Qatar’s most popular emerging artists, called on the heritage of Qatari jewelry to create her installation, Kan Ya Ma Kaan, which is located in the café named after the work, Café 875. The work takes inspiration from traditional Qatari jewelry and “Thahab” or 875 gold (21 karat). The installation has been designed to complement the museum’s contemporary architecture.
Images in slideshow:
1. ALFA by Jean-Michel Othoniel
2. Design drawing for Wisdom of a Nation installation by Ali Hassan
3. Motherland installation by Hassan bin Mohammed Al Thani