DUBAI: A large-scale iridescent, oil drill-shaped sculpture by Kuwaiti artist Monira Al-Qadiri has launched Expo 2020 Dubai’s Public Art Program, which features 11 artists from the UAE, region and wider world.
Alongside Al-Qadiri, the commissioned artists include Hamra Abbas, Afra Al-Dhaheri, Shaikha Al-Mazrou, Abdullah Al-Saadi, Asma Belhamar, Olafur Eliasson, Nadia Kaabi-Linke, Khalil Rabah, Yinka Shonibare and Haegue Yang.
The 11 contemporary artworks will live on as part of the future city of District 2020 as the first curated permanent open-air art exhibition in the UAE.
Expo 2020 Dubai’s Public Art Program takes inspiration from renowned Arab mathematician, astronomer, and physicist Ibn Al-Haytham’s seminal work, Book of Optics (c. 11th century). Ibn Al-Haytham has been called “the father of modern optics” for his significant theories and foundational principles of optics and visual perception.
Tarek Abou El-Fetouh, public art curator at Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “We are thrilled to be launching the Public Art Program with ‘Chimera’ by artist Monira Al-Qadiri. Her bold sculpture with its magnified size and reflective colour makes it seem like a futuristic creature from outer space. Through this sculpture, the artist attempts to merge the pre- and post-oil eras into one body. She creates aesthetic connections between pearls and oil, through their colour, materiality, symbolism, ecology and economy in order to reimagine the past, present and future of the wider Gulf region.”
For her part, Al-Qadiri said: “I am very proud to be among the 11 artists from around the world selected to be part of this program that invites visitors to access new perspectives through art in public space.”