Qatar Museums Announce Winners of Public Art Student Competition

The winning installation “Balance Bench” by Majdulin Nasrallah.

Doha: Qatar Museums announced the winners of its first public art student competition, which saw seven university students and alumni design art installations currently on display at Crescent Park in Lusail. Of the seven public works of art, three winning installations were selected by a jury made up of representatives from Qatar museums.

Majdulin Nasrallah, a Master of Fine Arts and Design Studies student at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar, won first place for her installation “Balance Bench”. The interactive public artwork attacks psychological and physical boundaries at both the individual and political level. The unstable and divided shape of the seat is emblematic of people’s social, cultural and political barriers. Visitors activate the seat by balancing it through a collective effort.

One person cannot sit alone – the seat only balances when four people interact and cooperate. Since the movements of each affect the stability of the other, all inevitably become aware of the importance of the presence of the other.

Second place went to Reema Abu Hassan, a specialist in fine arts and design studies at the Commonwealth of Virginia University, for the “Qatar Collaborative Matrix” representing Qatar’s resilience and collaborative spirit.

It is a testament to the power of individuals who come together and the value of the collective. The structure is made up of modular units that when put together create a matrix that allows people to sit, meet, talk, work and collaborate.

Ahmed Mahrous, a finance and information systems student at Qatar University, won third place for his “Sea Chamels” / “Dugonolith” installation. Sea camels, also known as dugongs, are marine mammals native to Qatari waters and have been around for 50 million years. Mahrous’s work includes six free-standing “Dugonoliths” arranged to capture natural sunlight. Each “Dugonolith” has the image of a sea camel line cut from its vertical steel plate. This physical model, similar to a gobo or a stencil, is covered with colored filter sheets.

Abdulrahman Al Ishaq, Director of Public Art at Qatar Museums, said: “We warmly congratulate the winners of the first student public art competition at our museums in Qatar. Through this initiative, we continue to bring art beyond four walls and give local students the opportunity to express their artistic talent through the creation of art installations that comment on current global challenges or speak to our collective psyche.

The competition, organized in partnership with Qatari Diar, is aimed at students currently enrolled in the university or former graduates within the past two years.

As part of the competition, participating students got to experience creating a public work of art by fine-tuning their concepts, working closely with local manufacturers through to installation.

Other students who entered the competition and whose works are also on display at Crescent Park include Hanof Ahmed, Hend Jamal, Shaden Al Riyabi and Shatha Al Riyabi.

Kayleen C. Rice