Crowds of visitors at City Center mall this weekend have been taking selfies near a patch of floor that has been painted to look like an underwater attraction.
The work, located on the first floor near Carrefour, is actually 3D art painted by Dutch artist Remko Van Schaik, who spent the past week developing the temporary installation.
Drawing inspiration from Qatar, the anamorphic painting depicts a falcon resting on an open clam that contains a shiny pearl, situated at the edge of what appears to be a bustling waterhole filled with schools of fish, shells, turtles and aquatic plants.
The work is reminiscent of one of Van Schaik’s earlier paintings – a 3D sketch dubbed 3D Tropical Turtle that he designed for a shopping center in The Netherlands.
Though this is the first time that Van Schaik has exhibited his work in Qatar, the art form is not new to the country.
Last year, Croatian 3D artist Filip Mrvelj’s paintings were on display as part of Villaggio Mall’s Spring Festival.
The two works – one positioned near Paul cafe at the top of the canal, the other in the mall’s “luxury” wing – depicted gondolas floating on water and pillars supporting the floor.
Speaking to Doha News, City Center’s general manager Jorg Harengerd said that he hoped the artwork would draw more visitors into the mall.
“It’s not part of any festival or event. We just wanted to have something fun and nice done in the mall between the Eid season and the winter season to draw in a crowd.”
According to Harengerd, Van Schaik flew into Qatar on Oct. 12 and took three days to finish the painting, which has been created on a surface of sorts – rather than the actual mall floor.
When Doha News visited yesterday, several children and adults could be seen posing on one of the many painted land masses on the piece, while their friends and families stood on a designated spot to take their picture.
Anamorphic paintings have been around for centuries, but gained popularity again in the 1980s, when American painter Kurt Wenner started producing 3D pavement art using a 500-year-old technique.
Also known as one-point perspective art, these street paintings usually appear complete and in proper perspective only when viewed from a specific angle. When viewed from the side, most paintings appear stretched out and distorted.
Van Schaik, a 48-year-old Dutch artist who originally created murals, illustrations, and 3D objects from polyester and concrete, first began creating anamorphic street art in 2008, and has since dedicated his life to the craft.
On his website, he attributed his change in focus to viewing a group of artists creating street paintings in his hometown of Utrecht:
“I got very excited about this great art form! Since my first drawing in 2008, street painting has been the focal point of my work and indeed life…
Not only is 3D Painting a great challenge of creativity and skill, it is also a fantastic social happening with plenty of interaction with the public.”
Van Schaik is widely popular in Europe, where he has presented his works on pavements in countries like Denmark, The Netherlands, and Germany, among others.