Following the opening of Kaws: He Eats Alone at the Fire Station, Qatar Museums (QM) unveiled at the Dhow Harbour, Holiday, an installation by US born artist, Brian Donnelly – known as KAWS. The inflatable sculpture is on display for the first time in the Middle East and joins Qatar’s growing portfolio of permanent and temporary public art pieces.
Holiday depicts Kaws’ character, Companion, in a laid-back position. The 40m sculpture represents the artist’s attempt to remind passersby to relax in an increasingly hectic world. Much like the rest of Kaws’ body of work, the installation uses wit and irreverence to provide a playful commentary on our humanity.
With gloved hands and X’s for eyes, the highly-popular Companion character was first created in the late 1990’s and has become a symbol that both embraces and rejects the ideals of today’s consumerist society. The installation in Doha is the most recent iteration of the touring Kaws: Holiday project after previous displays in some of the world’s most important cultural hotspots that include the city of Seoul in South Korea and Mount Fuji in Japan.
Located at the heart of Qatar’s cultural square, which is close to popular destinations such as the Museum of Islamic Art, the National Museum of Qatar and Souq Waqif, the Dhow Harbour is the ideal location to host such a show-stopping piece in Qatar.
“Kaws is one of the most important contemporary artists of our time, one who has managed to establish an iconic imagery that is uniquely his. After the successful unveiling of Small Lie in 2018, we are pleased to continue our collaboration with him and to bring his work to the region for the first time,” QM’s Head of Public Art Abdulrahman al-Ishaq said.
“Our public art strategy is guided by our mission to bring dialogue to the streets of Qatar by displaying various forms of striking creations. Every piece we have displayed to date was hand-picked to inspire local talent and to create an organic connection between art and the community,” he added.
QM’s director of Exhibitions Sheikha Reem al-Thani said: “We are excited to unveil Holiday as part of the Kaws: He Eats Alone exhibition, which has been highly-praised by Qatar’s growing art community.”
“The exhibition and this installation are an ode to Kaws’ playful commentary on the very things that make us human. We look forward to seeing how the community will react to and interact with the piece as they go about their daily life,” she noted. The artist’s exhibition, Kaws: He Eats Alone, is curated by acclaimed art historian Germano Celant and will be on display at the Fire Station until January 25, 2020.
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