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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Qatar museums mulls CCTV surveillance to protect public art

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CCTV to be considered in a new effort to protect public art in Qatar.

Qatar Museums (QM) is considering adding surveillance measures to help monitor and protect public art around the country.

The new effort comes as part of QM’s anti-vandalism campaign, Public Art Department acting director Abdulrahman al-Ishaq told Gulf times. 

In an effort to spread awareness and engage with the community, Al-Ishaq added that the local entity is working with both government and non-governmental organisations to push the campaign forward. 

“We’ve installed four road signs in Zikreet to ensure all rules are outlined explicitly. We seek to add surveillance measures and people who deliberately damage works can be punished in accordance with Qatar’s existing laws,” al-Ishaq added.

Read also: Graffiti finally cleaned off iconic ‘East-West / West-East’ artwork

The anti-vandalism campaign was officially launched in September in a new collective effort to protect the country’s public art, which is a “fundamental part of Qatar’s cultural life,” al-Ishaq added.

“We’re asking the community to care for and protect our community’s public art,” he said.

In addition, Qatar National Museum will ensure that all tourists visiting public arts are aware of the rules and policies put in place to protect them from vandalism. QM is also working with other organisations on the campaign. 

The campaign was sparked by the vandalism of Serra’s East-West/West-East. 

Last month, the art work, situated in Qatar’s Brouq nature reserve, was cleaned by authorities.

Shortly after the iconic and unique structures were unveiled, vandals began writing their names, messages and spraying graffiti on them. While some people saw no issues with it, many viewed it as a form of vandalism and a disrespect to public property.

“As we speak, the sculptures are currently being restored by a specialised team. All graffiti and markings are being removed. We do this every year but this year, we have emphasised as a community to collectively maintain the sculptures in good condition,” he said. 

“These sculptures as well as all our public art are a national asset that we as citizens and residents can be proud of.”

Al-Ishaq stressed the significance of raising awareness within the community regarding the uniqueness of public art and the importance of protecting it. 

We aim to target different segments of the community in order to spread awareness of the public artworks around Qatar,” he added.

“The wider aim is to encourage and foster appreciation and understanding of our public art, and through this we initiate talks, programmes, learning materials, and local public art commissions”


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