Gaylord “Choy” Salonga, a graphic designer from the Philippines, has been named as the winner of the National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ)’s Dugong Mascot Design competition.
With over 40 different submissions, NMoQ has finally chosen a design for its brand new mascot that reflects the museum’s sustainability goals and objectives: the shy Dugong.
In celebration of its first anniversary, the museum opened its doors in April for creative talents to submit their designs for a mascot that encapsulates the dugong, a large marine mammal that has lived in Qatar’s waters for over 7,500 years. Recently, the largest herds in the world, comprising between 600 to 700 dugongs, were recorded by marine environmentalists.
Gaylord “Choy” Salonga’s design was selected as his design reflected the museum’s vision and successfully encompassed all of the selection criteria, including creativity and originality, aesthetics, and awareness of the key themes of sustainability and heritage.
“In designing the mascot, I set out to distinguish the dugong from other sea mammals who share similar characteristics. I also incorporated the rose motif into its fins as the rose is a symbol that inspired the museum’s architecture,” said Salonga. “I was surprised to find out that I had won the winning design as I knew many talented illustrators would enter. This is a major competition and it’s exciting to know that my design will be used to represent the National Museum of Qatar.”
The shy dugong has a huge significance to Qatar, as the country has the second largest population of the water creature in the world after Australia. As a mascot, the Dugong will not only be a representation of the museum’s ethos of sustainability and environmental awareness, but its cultural significance, given the mammal’s place in Qatar’s local heritage.
“We thank each of the participants for their brilliant submissions in response to the open call. The high quality of submissions made it a tough process to select the ultimate winner, but in the end, we felt that Choy’s design best encapsulated both the essence of these fascinating sea mammals, and the museum’s core commitment to securing a greener future,” said Sheikha Amna bint Abdull Aziz Al Thani, Director of NMoQ.
“We would like to extend congratulations to Choy for his winning design, and we look forward to unveiling our mascot in the coming months.”
Before its opening in 2019, NMoQ was the first national museum in the world to receive a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold rating, which is the most widely used green building rating system globally.
“Our museum is the first national museum to be awarded LEED Gold certification. It was extremely important for NMoQ’s mascot – the museum’s living identity – to be representative of our firm commitment to sustainability while being uniquely symbolic of Qatar,” said Sheikha Amna bint Abdull Aziz Al Thani, Director of NMoQ.
Read more: Doha ‘Energy Playground’ to open in 2022.
Unfortunately, dugongs today face the threat of extinction due to fishing activities, vessel strikes and pollution. In an effort to educate people about the mammal and raise awareness over its significance, NMoQ, in collaboration with Exxon Mobil Research Qatar, will open its doors for a special exhibition about the Dugong a year from now.