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Saturday, March 6, 2021

PHOTOS: Qatar reaches for sky with new statues outside handball venue

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Photos by Navin Sam and Qatar Museums

To mark the upcoming 24th Men’s Handball World Championships in Doha, the public art department at Qatar Museums has installed several new attention-getting sculptures outside one of the main match venues.

The pieces were created by Iraqi artist Ahmad Al Bahrani and depict larger-than-life hands, reaching for the sky.

Artist Ahmad Al Bahrani
Artist Ahmad Al Bahrani

They are situated outside of the Lusail Multipurpose Hall, which will host the opening ceremony and the first match between Qatar and Brazil when the tournament kicks off on Thursday, Jan. 15.

Some two dozen teams will compete in the championships, which are taking place for the first time in the Gulf and only the second time in the Middle East. The tournament runs through Feb 1.

Both Qatar Museums and handball officials did not respond to repeated questions for comment about the new artworks. In a statement, QM said the work is called “The Challenge 2015,” and was produced in just five months.

According to the artist’s website, Al Bahrani splits his time living and working here and in Sweden.

He is internationally renowned for creating thought-provoking large-scale sculptures, such as a gun-toting Mother Theresa, and often themes his works on past experiences, such as war and exile.

Graffiti by El Seed
Graffiti by El Seed

The handball statues appear to be part of a larger effort by tournament organizers to drum up excitement for the game.

Over the weekend, for example, colorful hot air balloons could be seen floating in the skies above Doha, counting down the days until the tournament.

Two other artworks have also been revealed in time for the handball championships – murals created by the Qatari artist Mohammed Al Nasif, and a “calligraffiti” piece by the renowned Tunisian artist El Seed.

Public art

In years past, QM’s public art department has also installed several sculptures at the Hamad International Airport.

They include:

  • Lamp Bear by Swiss artist Urs Fischer;
  • Oryx sculptures by Dutch artist Tom Claassen and a playground by Tom Otterness; and
  • A desert horse sculpture by Qatari artist Ali Hassan.

Damien Hirst "Miraculous Journey"
Damien Hirst “Miraculous Journey”

The department also had a hand in the installation of Damien Hirst’s enormous bronze statues in front of the Sidra Medical and Research Center; and Adel Abdessemed’s famous head-butt statue of two fighting footballers on the Corniche.

But after a local outcry, that statue was moved to the Museum of Arab Modern Art (Mathaf), and is still not up for public display.

Thoughts?

Note: This article has been corrected to reflect that the oryx sculptures and playground at the HIA are by two separate artists.

43 COMMENTS

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Osama Alassiry AlMaadeed

Ugly.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago

I think I prefer the giant teddy bear.

Althani
Althani
6 years ago

it’s kinda cool

Osama Alassiry AlMaadeed
Reply to  Althani

It’s all in the hand of the beholder…

Althani
Althani
6 years ago

Nice pun

Al
Al
6 years ago

Night of the Living Dead Giants

Coco
Coco
6 years ago

Ok, I gotta ask: Who is selecting the art here? Those hands are not reaching for the sky, it’s more like a cry for help. I guess the same one that thought the headbutting (one of the most embarrassing moments in sport history) promoted sport…

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
6 years ago
Reply to  Coco

you have to be surrounded by art to choose good art…

Althani
Althani
6 years ago
Reply to  fullmoon07

Just reading your comments, I’m surrounded by art.

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
6 years ago
Reply to  Althani

yeah good joke! I wish I was surrounded by art. Art saves us all…normally

Althani
Althani
6 years ago
Reply to  fullmoon07

Nope

Dean
6 years ago
Reply to  Coco

the hands are reaching for the ball….and besides….our factory make this…..however

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago

Note sure what’s worest… Continue to bankroll Hamas or funding crappy art

Ibrahim Ali
Ibrahim Ali
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

I know, your birth.

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  Ibrahim Ali

or your humor…

Althani
Althani
6 years ago
Reply to  Ibrahim Ali

Ooooo

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

I know art is very much subjective but this does look crappy to me. I’d love to know how much it cost as well.

Not sure why Qatar bankrolls Hamas, along with Israel they are one of the blocks to peace.

Shaiju
6 years ago

zombiessss!

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
6 years ago

“He is internationally renowned for creating thought-provoking large-scale sculptures, such as a gun-toting Mother Theresa” ..strangely Christians did not upsurge and killed because of provocation!

Catalea
Catalea
6 years ago
Reply to  fullmoon07

I’m sorry, what are you assuming here exactly please?

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  Catalea

He is assuming that he is capable of making thought provoking observations.

Althani
Althani
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

Nothing new with full moon, Always trying hard to make a provoking statement then turns out to be stupid

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  Althani

Yeah I noticed that! LOL!!!

Catalea
Catalea
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

Yeah, I noticed that too. See Shabina, Fullmoon’s comment is a perfect example of the kind of comment you should delete, if you had to delete some… Just an idea…

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
6 years ago
Reply to  Catalea

I will delete person attacks, but see no need to delete that comment.

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  fullmoon07

Since when did Mother Teresa hold the same weight in the Christian world as the muslim prophet did in the islamic world? Think before making dumb a$$ comparisons.

As for Jesus (who would be the more appropriate figure to use for such a comparison), centuries of various works where he is the subject of critical assessments/mockery has already established that there is more tolerance for such expressions in the Western world than in this region, you are not making any insightful observations here.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

Not depicting Mohd is a recent happening. Mohd through the centuries has appeared in thousands of Islamic works. The koran does not ban his image either so this uproar is pathetic and a form of control for the brainless

Saeed Ahmad Khan
Saeed Ahmad Khan
6 years ago

Waste of money and looks dirty

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago

Think of it like your buttocks Saeed, dirty but never abandoned by your underwear.

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago

QM is becoming expert in wasting money. It is shocking they still did not understand “art” is not something people are interested in here, whether locals or expats.

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

They have money and don’t care.

If I had known about QM when I was growing up I would have focused all my efforts on establishing a career in art. Once I had reached a certain level of prominence, I will purchase lollipops for some of the kids in my neighborhood in exchange for any “creative” things they can produce from all the trash in the neighborhood green bins. I will then sell their finished pieces to QM for millions and then make more millions from my book “How to become a millionaire selling garbage as art”.

Althani
Althani
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

:I

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

Why go to the trouble of raiding trash cans to create art? You know you can just sell rocks to QMA, right?

http://www.qm.org.qa/en/qatar-uk-2013

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

hey at least the surroundings are beautiful!! Look so much Nature! They can’t buy that in Qatar…..

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

That’s nothing compared to other purchases. Just type “Paul Cezanne” and “Cards Players” on Google and read 🙂

Smile
Smile
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

I like this Michael. Probably because of the location in the picture. + i think bringing this rock into Qatar for people who are not families with what rock look like physically is not a bad idea for me especial children educationally.

Indifferent
Indifferent
6 years ago

They’re not actually reaching for the sky. They are hands of handball players but the ball wasn’t installed yet at the time of these photos. One hand is preparing to throw the ball and 3 hands are trying to block. You can see the uninstalled ball in the photos. Or maybe authorities here wanted to improvise by adding the ball.

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
6 years ago
Reply to  Indifferent

Ah, thanks for the clarification. Have been asking for official comment for two weeks, no response from anybody :/

Smile
Smile
6 years ago
Reply to  ShabinaKhatri

I think one of the critical area of an organisation people do not take seriously but need rapid improvement in Qatar is the field of Public Relations

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago
Reply to  Smile

I did some consultancy in a Doha based Government office many years ago which included reshuffling the office layout.

It was suggested by some that it would make sense for the marketing people to be with the finance and contracts people.

“Umm, okay, for any particular reason?”, we ask.

“Well then they can get the contracts approved and signed, before they visit the market to buy things”.

Guest
Guest
6 years ago

nice “hand” job

ThePattern
ThePattern
6 years ago

yes it’s ugly

Smile
Smile
6 years ago

I will wait for complete installation of this work of art before commenting on it. For me, this art is a brilliant creative ideal if install properly. I think colour and positioning is very important in bringing out beauty of an art.

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