Following the opening of ‘KAWS: He Eats Alone at the Fire Station’, Qatar Museums unveiled ‘Holiday,’ an installation by US born artist, Brian Donnelly – known as KAWS. The work, currently situated at the Dhow Harbour, 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” is an inflatable sculpture depicting KAWS’ character, ‘Companion’, in a laid-back position. The colossal sculpture, measuring at a height of 40 meters, 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 were held in 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.
Commenting on the announcement, Abdulrahman Al Ishaq, Head of Public Art at Qatar Museums stated: “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.”
“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,” continued Abdulrahman.
Talking about the installation, Sheikha Reem Al Thani, Director of Exhibitions commented: “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.”
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 the 25th of January, 2020.
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