Contemporary Public Art is a Draw and a Cultural Attraction, possibly a positive Distraction just before the World Cup, here are 7 of “The Best” New Sculptures in Qatar, including Two by WoMen!!

Large sculptures that have been placed to be interacted with add some texture with internationally renowned artists gives Doha a sense of openness.

The Art Newspaper published this story on artists’ response the recent controversy over Qatar trying to put on a facade during the World Cup to cover up the human rights violations, restrictions and bribes. Interesting to consider how these new sculptures may inform and be part of a PR effort and the stadiums alone is where art and architecture muse. It’s interesting that despite the lack of equality for women, two of the seven artists commissioned for this prominent project were women: Yayoi Kusama and Najla El Zein. One of Kusama’s several pieces is shown above, and El Zein’s is below. See all seven of them here. Perhaps this is a step towards greater prominence for women within Qatari society, fueled by the international attention brought by the World Cup.

A large white sculpture is on the ground, in roughly the shape of a large rope. A person is sitting on the middle of the sculpture, facing away from camera. The sculpture is surrounded by palm trees in front of a large grid of flagpoles flying flags of the world.
Najla El Zein, Us, Her, Him (2022), Flag Plaza, Doha © Iwan Baan

ArchDaily explores the different stadiums and their conception, including the Lusail Stadium, pictured below, where the World Cup final will be played. These stadiums are a form of public art and public sculpture in their own right. As Artchitecture and a way to show off, “Look What We Can Design”… even if fleeting, lets hope a step towards an opportunity to continue an open and creative dialogue.

The Lusail Stadium schematic. Image via ArchDaily.

Interesting how much money is available if the politics are in favor and relationship are fostered with FIFA and the local government, ruling family. High stakes bets go into winning whatever the cost, and when there is a bottomless oil pit it sure makes it easier.

As for the World Cup itself, on 11/20/22 the New York Times gave their perspective here.

(Header image credit: Yayoi Kusama sculptures in Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) Park, Doha, Qatar Photo by Iwan Baan. Artwork © YAYOI KUSAMA. Courtesy David Zwirner, Ota Fine Arts, and Victoria Miro.)

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