Posted on March 02, 2020

Qatar Museums (QM), will begin a specialized cleaning process for East-West/West-East by Richard Serra, following significant and deliberate damage caused by visitors to the sculpture in recent months. The breathtaking sculpture in the Brouq nature reserve spans over a kilometer and comprises four steel plates, each over fourteen meters in height.

QM has worked closely with some of the world’s leading artists to place sculptures and other works in open public places, helping to enrich the lives of Qatar’s citizens and visitors. From Doha’s Corniche to the desert of Zekreet, public art is now everywhere, transforming the spaces people share, encouraging dialogue and providing readily accessible sources of inspiration. Vandalizing public art is a crime and people who deliberately damage works can be punished in accordance with Qatar’s existing laws.

On this, Director of Cultural Heritage Protection at QM, Abdullatif Al-Jasmi notes: “Along with our partners, we are currently working on a new Cultural Heritage Law, which will build on existing regulations to strengthen the protection of arts and culture in the country. Vandalism of any kind to our public art, not only affects the community’s enjoyment of the piece but also harms Qatar’s cultural heritage. It is important that people understand the social impact of the damage to the artworks but also that they can receive substantial fines and may be responsible for restoration.”

QM’s Head of Public Art Abdulrahman Al Ishaq stated: “Public art is a national asset that we as citizens and residents can be proud of. We call upon the community to help us ensure that all public art works are cared for and protected, preserving them for the enjoyment of current and future generations. Our public art is a fundamental part of Qatar’s cultural life, benefiting the nation and its people, both socially and economically. It fosters creativity and contributes to Qatar’s rapid progression towards becoming the region’s cultural hub – in alignment with the Qatar National Vision 2030.”

Public artworks contribute to Qatar’s growing tourism sector, helping diversify the economy. According to statistics by the National Tourism Council, Qatar welcomed 1.19 million visitors during the first seven months of 2019 – signifying a continuing development of the tourism sector. Public art plays a key role in this growth, attracting visitors to the country.

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