An enormous iridescent, oil drill-shaped sculpture by Kuwaiti artist Monira Al Qadiri has launched Expo2020 Dubai’s Public Art Programme, which brings together 11 leading artists from the UAE, the region and the world.
Alongside Al Qadiri, the commissioned artists are 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 form a creative journey around Expo 2020’s public spaces and will live on as part of the future city of District 2020. As the first curated permanent open-air art exhibition in the UAE, it will leave a lasting impact as part of the next World Expo’s legacy, provide an exciting addition to the UAE’s vibrant and thriving artistic scene, and boost Dubai’s position on the global cultural map.
The Public Art Programme of Expo2020 Dubai takes inspiration from the famous Arab mathematician, astronomer and physicist Ibn Al Haytham’s seminal work, Book of Optics, written in the 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.
The programme provides a prism to view contemporary art creations and a context that allows an exploration of the philosophical aspect of Ibn Al Haytham’s theories on visual perception, including his definitions of vision, recognition and the impossibility of envisioning a full picture of reality within oneself without the power of imagination.
“We are thrilled to be launching the Public Art Programme 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,” said Tarek Abou El Fetouh, Public Art Curator, Expo 2020 Dubai.
Expo 2020 will run from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022, inviting visitors from every corner of the globe to discover a wide range of cultural and artistic initiatives dedicated to broadening horizons and bringing people, communities and nations together.