Today Hamad International Airport (HIA), an active supporter of arts and culture, has revealed a new artwork, SMALL LIE by American artist KAWS. The inauguration was attended by the artist, Engr. Badr Mohammed Al Meer, HIA Chief Operating Officer and Khalid Yousef Al Ibrahim, Qatar Museums (QM) Chief Strategic Planning Officer. Delivered as part of Qatar Museums’ commitment to make art available to all beyond the confines of a gallery, SMALL LIE is the latest addition to the airport’s fine art collection of more than twenty permanent pieces created by local and international artists.
Qatar Museums Chief Strategic Planning Officer, Khalid Yousef Al Ibrahim welcomed SMALL LIE to Qatar, saying: “From striking sculptures to specially commissioned photography, our public art offering at HIA aims to inspire travelers as well as local talents flying through the airport. At Qatar Museums, we believe that art can be enjoyed far beyond the confines of a gallery and are delighted that a new inconic artwork by KAWS will join our ever-growing, world-class collection of paintings and installations by local and international artists.”
HIA being strategically located at the crossroads of the Eastern and the Western part of the world, the selection of art installations displayed at the airport transcends all cultures and beliefs. KAWS is the fourth American artist joining HIA’s Art Programme. Most recently installed at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in the UK, the newly inaugurated SMALL LIE is now located in the North node of HIA, near Concourse E, a strategic location for the benefit of the 30 million passengers transiting through HIA on a yearly basis.
Engr. Badr Mohammed Al Meer, Chief Operating Officer at HIA, commented: “HIA’s space for public art is truly redefining the passenger experience. As we are gearing up to welcome more than 50 million passengers by 2022, the airport is thriving to give transit travellers a memorable journey through the arts and culture. We are proud to welcome a leading world-class artist like KAWS at HIA. I would like to thank Qatar Museums and KAWS for their precious partnership in enriching our current art collection.”
Reminicent of a wooden marionette, the sculpture is made from Afrormosia wood, weighing in at 15 tonnes and standing 32 feet tall.
The artist flew in to Qatar to unveil and present his artwork: “I hope SMALL LIE can transport passengers into another realm”, said KAWS. “The inspiration behind SMALL LIE comes from my relationship to wooden toys growing up and the warm sensation of wood grain. Expanding on this, I created an oversize sculpture that plays with an emotional tension of strength and kindness. SMALL LIE makes the viewer feel small but also want to protect it and console it. It is the first time that one of my pieces is exhibited in an airport…the space allows a dialogue with both travellers and the other artworks showcased at HIA. It is a perfect space for SMALL LIE.”
A painter, sculptor, product designer and collector, KAWS is considered one of the most distinctive artists of our time. His influential work connects people across generations with contemporary art and opens up the world of popular culture to young and diverse audiences across the globe. His presence and support at today’s reveal has let SMALL LIE make its mark in Qatar.
QM has worked with local, regional and international artists for many years to commission and acquire artworks for key locations in and around HIA as part of its mission to create easily accessible cultural experiences for all those who live in and visit Qatar. Artworks on show at HIA comprise a mix of site-specific creations and pieces which have been carefully selected for the airport, transforming the transportation hub into a large-scale gallery filled with breathtaking pieces.
Public Art is a central programme in QM’s mission to push the boundaries of the traditional museum model and to offer cultural experiences in public spaces. The art installed at HIA supports this goal as well as the pillars of Qatar’s National Vision 2030 to educate and engage with the people of Qatar.
HIA features several artworks from a mix of local and international artists. The iconic Lamp Bear by Swiss artist Urs Fischer takes centre stage in the grand foyer leading to HIA's world-class duty-free hall. A herd of Oryx statues by Dutch artist Tom Claassen welcomes travellers at arrivals hall, while American sculptor Tom Otterness has offered a unique take on the Playground through a series of installations around the airport. Local artists include Qatari artist Ali Hassan and his desert horse sculpture, living outside of the airport building, as well as Salman Al Malik, Mubarak Al Malik, and Amal Al Rabban. Additional art pieces will soon be launched at HIA.
In line with Qatar’s National Vision 2030, HIA, as the gateway to arts and culture, is doing its part in building a strong tourism and cultural landscape, inspiring millions of visitors and residents flying through the airport.
With its target of serving more than 50 million passengers, HIA is currently a candidate for the “Best Airport in the World” award by Skytrax which also classified it as a five-star airport in 2017, making it one among only five other airports in the world to achieve this prestigious status. Earlier this year, it was ranked Sixth Best Airport in the World by the 2017 Skytrax World Airport Awards, moving up four places from 2016.
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