In the recent years, through Qatar Museums (QM), Qatar has been pushing to be one of the major art hubs in the world, bringing one of the world’s top artists and their art to the country.

High profile artists such as Damien Hirst, Richard Serra, Shirin Nashat, Anne Geddes and many more have made their way to Qatar to open their own temporary art exhibitions at Qatar’s museums, boosting the country’s profile as a centre of art. However, when these artists depart from Qatar, they leave some of their work behind for the residents of Qatar to continue to appreciate during their daily lives here.

Public art has already become a prominent part of the art culture in the country. Public art is a central programme in QM’s mission to push the boundaries of the traditional museum model and to offer cultural experiences in public spaces.

Here is Marhaba’s compilation of where you can find public art in Qatar:

Hamad International Aiport (HIA)

Lamp Bear

Urs-Fischer-Lamp-Bear-704x400Lamp Bear by Swiss artist Urs Fischer takes centre stage in the grand foyer leading to HIA’s duty-free hall. It is a 23-foot canary yellow teddy bear sculpted from bronze, that sits inside a lamp. According to QMA, it’s a playful piece that humanises the space around it and reminds travellers of childhood or precious home objects.


Dutch artist Tom Claassen has produced a series of sculptures of the Oryx, an antelope native to the Arabian Peninsula, which appear as a herd in the Arrivals hall of the airport.


American sculptor Tom Otterness will have a number of installations around the airport titled Playground. His style is often described as cartoonish and cheerful, and his pieces here are accompanied by miniature Arab figures.

Source: Marhaba

Al Koora

Hamad International airport art installation 2.JPG

Created by volunteers from Qatari-based non-profit organisation Reach Out To Asia (ROTA) in collaboration with Qatari artists, and “Desert Horse”, a unique and striking sculpture by acclaimed Qatari artist Ali Hassan. This is Hassan’s third piece of art that now has a permanent home at HIA.

Mark Quin HIA Art Installation
Marc Quinn’s mesmerising artwork ‘The Nurseries of El Dorado‘ is a representation of an almost mythical world. Comprising of a number of bronze sculptures, Quinn creates a series of hybrid plants by taking elements from different vegetation and carefully piecing them together.
Stingel HIA Art Installation
Rudolf Stingel’s work reflects on the passage of time. His artwork at HIA is a sample of one of his famous large-scale interactive pieces. Stingel covered three surfaces with reflective, aluminium-faced insulation panels, before inviting members of the construction team at HIA to draw on the soft walls at the time of the airport’s construction. The walls were then cast in copper and electroplated with gold, before a number of pieces were selected for permanent display at HIA.
An unconventional interpretation of the iconic desert animal Represented by different forms of the Arabic letter (“n”), the sculpture is a specially commissioned installation designed by the Qatari artist for the airport measuring 5m x 6m.
An unconventional interpretation of the iconic desert animal, represented by different forms of the Arabic letter (“n”), the sculpture is a specially commissioned installation designed by the Qatari artist Ali Hassan for the airport measuring 5m x 6m.

Source: Qatar Museums

 Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art

Al Safina (The Ship) by Adam Henein

Mathaf Adam HeneinLocated at the entrance of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art is the monumental sculpture, Al Safina (The Ship) by Egyptian artist, Adam Henein. Comprising of granite and bronze, Al Safina is based on approximately 64 blocks of granite from Aswan, Egypt. On and around the blocks stand 20 granite and bronze sculptures of animals, human figures, plants and abstract forms.

The Guardian of the Fertile Crescent by Ismail Fattah

Mathaf Ismail Fattah

Alongside Al Safina is a sculpture by Iraqi artist Ismail Fattah, The Guardian of the Fertile Crescent, which was fininshed by Ali Nouri in granite.

Source: Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art

Doha Exhibition and Convention Center

Smoke by Tony Smith Public Art


The large-scale sculpture “Smoke” was designed in 1967 by American artist Tony Smith and is exhibited posthumously – Smith passed away in 1980.

Source: Qatar Museums

Richard Serra



At the MIA Park, Richard Serra was commissioned by QM to create ‘7’, a number which has spiritual significance in Islam. Serra pays homage to this in this sculpture, constructing 7 with seven steel plates. However, the public artwork was constructed based on the personal recommendation of I.M.Pei, the architect who built the Museum of Islamic Art. According to Pei, he wanted an artist that would complement the museum and, ‘connect the aesthetic content of the museum to the possibility of building a public space for the people’. The project took around three years to complete and was unveiled in 2011.


East-West:West-East Richard SerraOn the occasion of his first solo exhibition in the Middle East in Qatar in 2014, Serra has been commissioned to produce an exceptional standing-plate work specially conceived for the dramatic desert landscape of the Brouq Nature Reserve, near Zekreet in western Qatar. Set in a natural corridor formed by gypsum plateaus, East-West/West-East spans over a kilometre in length, and crosses the peninsula of the Brouq Nature Reserve connecting the waters of the Gulf. East-West/West-East consists of four steel plates measured by their relation to the topography. Despite the great distance that the plates span, all four can be seen and explored from either end of the sculpture. Serra describes the installation of East-West/West-East in Brouq Nature Reserve as a unique opportunity because ‘an opportunity like this never exists in America. In my country, art comes after sports and entertainment,’ he said. When he was commissioned by Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al Thani, Chairperson of QM, Serra said he was never prepared to prepare something for the desert because his artwork is urban and meant only for urban spaces but he said he was able to ‘make a place within a place’ with East-West/West-East in Brouq Nature Reserve.

Source: Marhaba

The Miraculous Journey by Damien Hirst

The Miraculous Journey Damien Hirst

In 2013, Qatar residents were introduced to the work of iconic British artist, Damien Hirst, when QM unveiled his first solo exhibition in the Middle East. Relics: Damien Hirst took place at ALRIWAQ DOHA from 10 October 2013 to 22 January 2014. Prior to the opening of Damien’s exhibition, QM unveiled a Damien Hirst permanent installation at Sidra Medical Centre, called The Miraculous Journey. It speaks of the beauty of the extraordinary human process, occurring at Sidra, which is dedicated to women and children, as well as all across the globe. This series of 14 monumental bronze sculptures chronicles the gestation of a fetus inside a uterus, from conception to birth. It ends with a statue of a 46-foot-tall anatomically correct baby boy.

Source: Qatar Museums

Gandhi’s Three Monkeys by Subodh Gupta

Three_MonkeysLocated in the Katara cultural Village, adjacent to the Katara Open Air Theater, ‘Gandhi’s Thee Monkeys’ is a series of three sculptures showing heads wearing military gear. One wears a gas mask, another a soldier’s helmet, and the third a terrorist’s hood. Each piece is composed of cooking instruments, used pails, traditional Indian lunch boxes and glass bowls. Together, they recall Gandhi’s famous visual metaphor – the three wise monkeys that represent the ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil’ proverb.

Source: Qatar Museums

Healthy Living from the Start by Anne Geddes

Anne Geddes QMAPhotographer Anne Geddes produced a series of images portraying Qatari athletes with newborn babies and young children. The Qatari athletes captured in the shots are rally driver and sport shooter Nasser Al Attiyah, swimmer Nada Arakji, paralympion Ali Al Mass, table tennis player Hamad Al Hammadi, hand ball player Hannah Al Bader, gymnast Shaden Wahdan, basket ball player Yassin Moussa, as well as athletes Sheikha Reem Al Thani, Sheikh Ali bin Khalid Al Thani, Bahia Al Hamad, Bahiya Al-Hamad, Miriam Farid and Moutaz Majed.

Shot in Doha and displayed in the main hallway at Hamad Women’s Hospital, the pictures capture human potential. They show that a healthy lifestyle starts in childhood, and bolster broader efforts to reduce diabetes in the Qatari population.

Source: Qatar Museums

Arabic Calligraphy Sculpture by Sabah Arbilli

Saba Arbilli Doha Qatar Jeffin Kakkassery
The stainless steel artwork, standing over six metres high, is a gift to the people of Qatar in celebration of the country’s upcoming National Day. Located on the Doha Corniche, the sculpture reflects the rich heritage of Qatar and offers an exceptional opportunity to enjoy the poetry of Qatar’s founder as a unique work of art. Featuring a poem by Sheikh Jassim bin Mohamed Al Thani, written in Arabic calligraphy, the sculpture is the first of its kind in Qatar to showcase poetry from the nation’s founder and the first public sculpture of this scale for the artist.

Occidental Petroleum of Qatar Ltd. (Oxy Qatar) and international calligraphy artist Sabah Arbilli, presented the National Day sculpture to HE Sheikh Abdul Rahman bin Khalifa Al Thani, Minister of Municipality and Urban Planning, on 16 December 2013 at the Doha Corniche.

Source: Marhaba

Calligraffiti by El Seed

El Seed Calligraffiti Salwa RoadIn 2013, QM commissioned French-Tunisian calligraffiti artist, El Seed, to decorate the Salwa Road with 52 large-scale murals, which involved painting four underground tunnels on Salwa Road with artistic graffiti themes and quotes focusing on themes of identity, education, history and several other aspects of life in Doha.

Source: Marhaba

Qatar 2015 Handball World Championships – Lusail Multipurpose Hall

In celebration of the 24th Men’s Handball World Championships in Doha, which took place from 15 January to 1 February 2015, QM, in collaboration Qatar 2015 Organizing Committee, unveiled three new artworks installed at the Lusail multipurpose hall as part of an ongoing public art programme designed to bring culture to the streets of Doha.

Calligraffiti by El Seed

Lusial Handball ImageThe first artwork is a calligraffiti piece by the renowned Tunisian artist El Seed who blends traditional Arabic calligraphy with contemporary street art, the work include poetry quotes by the Founder of Qatar, Sheikh Jassem bin Mohammed bin Al Thani. This is his second project in Qatar.

The second art pieces include two murals created by the Qatari artist, Mohammed Al Nasif, inspired by different elements of Qatari culture and the country’s development and progress.

The Challenge 2015sculpture handsThe third artwork is a large bronze sculpture entitled The Challenge 2015, and was produced in just five months by the noted Iraqi artist, Ahmed Al Bahrani, depicting larger-than life hands reaching for the sky. This impressive piece sits just outside the Multipurpose Hall and stops sporting fans and players in their tracks as they wander around the venue.

Source: Marhaba

Maman (The Spider) by Louise Bourgeois


This giant spider sculpture, Maman (The Spider) by Louise Bourgeois, sits inside of Qatar’s National Convention Centre (QNCC). Through marble, bronze and stainless steel, Bourgeois captures a fragile moment, where a protective mother carries her eggs. She explores the meaning of motherhood and alludes to the strength of her own mother, whom she lost at the age of twenty-one. Her mother repaired tapestries in her father’s textile workshop, so the metaphors of spinning and weaving are striking. The sculpture draws onlookers in, connecting them to personal memories around the early stages of life.

Source: Qatar Museums

Perceval by Sarah Lucas

Perceval by Sarah Lucas Doha Qatar

Located in Aspire Park, Perceval is a 2.3 meters tall by 4 metres long bronze sculpture of a shire horse, which leads a cart containing giant marrows, cast in cement to contrast with the finish of the painted bronze. Perceval is Sarah’s only piece of public art. A homage to British culture, the piece is a replica of an ornament that adorns many mantelpieces in the UK. It demonstrates Sarah’s propensity to re-examine everyday objects in unusual contexts.

Source: Qatar Museums

Souq Waqif

Le Pouce at Souq Waqif

QM installed the first public art piece in Souq Waqif in February 2019 to mark the biggest sporting success in Qatar’s history, which is when Qatar won the 2019 Asian Cup. Directly translating to ‘The Thumb’ in English, Le Pouce by acclaimed French artist César Baldachin is a giant thumb-shaped sculpture, and one of its creator’s best-known pieces. QM chose Souq Waqif as the site for Le Pouce to combine the historic heart of the city with a piece of modern history, linking the traditional with the contemporary. The piece is in the courtyard next to the police station, to emphasise the scale of work in relation to the surrounding buildings, and the juxtaposition of the sculpture on the streetscape.

Source: Marhaba

Other works and sculptures of public art


Author: Ola Diab

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