Under the patronage of HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Qatar Museums Authority (QMA) announced Hana Al Saadi and her installation ‘Snail Print Factory’ as the winning piece of the Damien Hirst Art Challenge, a competition set up to complement Relics, Damien Hirst’s first solo exhibition in the Middle East, attended by a record-breaking 50,000 visitors and 5,000 students so far.

Hana Al Saadi, a Qatari artist student at the Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar (VCUQatar), will be going on an all-expense paid trip to London to meet Damien Hirst and have a guided tour of Gloucester Studios, having beaten out 61 submissions to the competition.

Her work, ‘Snail Print Factory’, is an installation art that explores three important stages of the natural lifecycle: eating, mating and reproduction. Within the micro-ecosystem the snails go about their business, and leave slime trails on paper that tell stories of the individual journeys, encounters and new beginnings inside the tank.

On the work, Damien Hirst commented:

I love art like Hana’s that asks questions and makes you think and is difficult to define, and I love art that involves a living element, it makes the art feel more real. It looks simple too and is universal and communicates across international boundaries, which all great art should.’

Running alongside In order to win a chance to meet the world’s most successful contemporary artist, participants were asked to create and submit a photo of an artwork inspired by Hirst’s exploration of Life and Death. Since the late 1980’s, Hirst has shocked and delighted the art world with works exploring the complex relationship between art, life and death. Explaining: ‘Art’s about life and it can’t really be about anything else, there isn’t anything else,’ Hirst’s work investigates and challenges contemporary belief systems. A reoccurring theme in his work, iconic pieces include the series of creatures preserved in formaldehyde, Natural History (1991), and the diamond skull, For the Love of God (2007).

Submissions came in from categories that included painting, photography, graphic design, sculptures, illustrations or mixed media and judged by a panel made up of Damien Hirst, Jason Beard (Creative Director of Hirst’s publishing company, Other Criteria), Caitlín Doherty (Exhibitions and Speaker Curator at VCUQatar) and Hala Mohammed Al Khalifa (Head of Artists in Residence Program at Public Art Department in Qatar Museums Authority),

Relics is on view until 22 January 2014, at ALRIWAQ DOHA exhibition space. Curated by internationally renowned writer and curator Fransesco Bonami, Relics presents the largest collection of Hirst’s work ever assembled.

For more information on Damien Hirst’s Relics exhibition, check out Marhaba’s post QMA to Host First Damien Hirst Solo Exhibition in the Middle East.