British artist Damien Hirst isn’t new to the Qatari community and is famous for his art and installations displayed at the most iconic spots in Qatar. Qatar’s emir has always been interested in investing in various forms of traditional and unusual art such as the giant teddy sitting under a lamp in the Qatar International Airport. Qatar hopes to get more tourists to visit and make the gas-rich country a global icon in the urban landscape and gain popularity ahead of FIFA 2022 World Cup.
This time though he has officially unveiled 14 bronze mega uterus sculptures outside the $8bn Sidra Medicine hospital in Qatar, that graphically depicts the fertilization of an egg, depicts various stages of a fetus growing inside the uterus, and culminates in a 46-foot baby. The work has hence been termed as ‘The Miraculous Journey’.
Each sculpture ranges from 5 to 11 metres (16 to 36 feet) in height and the whole thing weighs a massive 216 metric tonnes.
The hospital will also feature 56 artworks from international and popular artists from the Arab, including an installation by fellow British artist Tracey Emin.
Sheikha al Mayassa Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani , who is a part of Qatar Foundation, the foundation that commissioned the work, told The New York Times in 2013, when it was first announced, that she didn’t consider the work controversial.
“To have something like this is less daring than having a lot of nudity,” she said. “There is a verse in the Koran about the miracle of birth. It is not against our culture or our religion.”
“We do not expect everyone to like them, we do not expect everyone to understand them,” Layla Ibrahim Bacha, arts specialist at the government-funded Qatar Foundation, told AFP.
“That’s why they are here to create an element of debate and reflection. We believe that (the work) reflects Sidra’s mission to care for the health of women and babies.”
Hirst said in his 2013 release that the work came from “a desire to create something monumental, whilst essentially human.”
“Ultimately, the journey a baby goes through before birth is bigger than anything it will experience in its human life,” he said. “I hope the sculpture will instill in the viewer a sense of awe and wonder at this extraordinary human process.”
The hospital opened its doors last month and even conducted their very first successful operation on conjoined twins.