Simone Fattal, Gates to the Sea, 2019. Photo: Iwan Baan, courtesy of Qatar Museums.

It has been long said that football is art. But Qatar is doubling down on this connection by turning the streets of Doha into a 100-piece-strong outdoor art museum for winter’s 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Some 40 new commissioned pieces will be added ahead of the competition to 70 existing works as part of the expanded Qatar Creates public art programme. This fresh cache will bring installations by the likes of Jeff Koons, Ugo Rondinone, Yayoi Kusama, Katharina Fritsch, Shilpa Gupta and Shouq Al-Mana to the streets of Doha.

The aim is to transform the city’s streetscape into an ‘outdoor museum experience’, studded with works by the world’s biggest international artists.

Artworks will not be football themed, however. Jeff Koons’ Dungong is a giant steel version of the marine mammal native to the Persian Gulf; Shilpa Gupta is installing a light installation at Stadium 974, while Yayoi Kusama’s ephemeral polka dots and pumpkins are likely to make an appearance. But they will be installed in time for 20 November, when 1.5m fans are expected to descend for the start of the 2022 Qatar World Cup.

Said Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, chairperson of Qatar Museums: ‘These works vary in size and form, and they encompass a wide range of subject matter, but all further our mission to make art more accessible, engage our publics, celebrate our heritage, and embrace the cultures of others.

‘More importantly, artists from every corner of the world – representing all continents – have been invited to express their artistic creativity with our very own diverse population. Our longstanding commitment to public art is visible across Qatar, and we hope these works will be welcomed by locals and enhance the experiences had by the millions of visitors we expect to welcome to Doha this year.’

Daniel Arsham, Sports Ball Galaxy, 2012. Photo: Iwan Baan, courtesy of Qatar Museums.
Shouq Al Mana, Egal, 2022. Photo: Iwan Baan, courtesy of Qatar Museums

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