10 March 2018

VCUarts Qatar Students Win Hamad International Airport Art Competition

VCUarts Qatar students Yara Elfouly, Safa Al-Hadithi, and Mariam Rafehi, were at the official launch of a new art piece by American pop artist KAWS at Hamad International Airport (HIA) called "Small Lie". 


Yara (a Painting & Printmaking sophomore), Safa (an Art Foundation student), and Mariam (an MFA in Design student) were the winners of a competition to produce an art piece inspired by "Small Lie". The students have donated their winning works to the airport, which will go on display there. They also had the chance to meet KAWS.

Reminiscent of a wooden marionette, the sculpture is made from Afrormosia wood, weighing in at 15 tonnes and standing 32 feet tall. It consists of 10 different pieces. A steel structural frame inside the sculpture connects various parts together.  

“Small Lie” is located in the North node of HIA, near Concourse E. 

The sculpture was transported by ship to Qatar and then transported through the airport tunnels using special trucks. The parts were then connected together through steel pipes and assembled, allowing the sculpture to be free standing. 

Ian Metsovitis, HIA Vice President of Operations said: "The challenge of installing a 15 tonne and 32 feet high sculpture on the 1st floor of an airport terminal requires meticulous planning and engineering. A huge portion of the building façade was removed to allow the two larger crates (body and head) to enter the area. Specially customized tow trucks and trolleys were constructed to allow the transportation of the sculpture considering the loads and the ceiling constraints of the terminal. Due to the space restriction, a customized gantry was built to allow three-dimensional movements during the sculpture mounting.”

A team of 80-100 people were involved in the installation of “Small Lie”, including people from different departments and specializations including fine art installers, gantry and steel specialists, façade experts, a logistics company, structural engineers, commercial and contractual experts, consultants, airport and museum staff.

HIA displays more than 20 permanent art pieces from a mix of local and international artists across the airport as part of its partnership with Qatar Museums' Public Art Programme, which aims to take art outside of the traditional museum setting and bring it to the public. 

Qatar Museums Chief Strategic Planning Officer, Khalid Yousef Al Ibrahim welcomed "Small Lie" to Qatar, saying: “From striking sculptures to specially commissioned photography, our public art offering at HIA aims to inspire travelers as well as local talents flying through the airport. At Qatar Museums, we believe that art can be enjoyed far beyond the confines of a gallery and are delighted that a new inconic artwork by KAWS will join our ever-growing, world-class collection of paintings and installations by local and international artists.”

The iconic Lamp Bear by Swiss artist Urs Fischer takes center stage in the grand foyer leading to HIA's duty-free hall. A herd of Oryx statues by Dutch artist Tom Claassen welcomes travelers at arrivals hall, while American sculptor Tom Otterness has offered a unique take on the Playground through a series of installations around the airport. Local artists include Qatari artist Ali Hassan and his desert horse sculpture, living outside of the airport building, as well as Salman Al Malik, Mubarak Al Malik, and Amal Al Rabban. Additional art pieces will soon be launched at HIA. 

HIA’s collaboration with VCUarts Qatar sets to encourage the creative innovation and expression of the students by engaging them in KAWS’s influential work of contemporary art.

Dr. Donald M. Baker, Executive Dean of VCUarts Qatar said: “It is a great opportunity for our students to learn more about the art piece by KAWS. We hope this partnership will inspire and bring about rising artists in Qatar.” 

From left: Yara Elfouly, Safa Al-Hadithi, KAWS, Mariam Rafehi at the unveiling of "Small Lie" on March 7, 2018 at Hamad International Airport.

"Small Lie" is located in the North node of HIA, near Concourse E.

From left: Mariam Rafehi, Safa Al-Hadithi, Abdulaziz Al Mass, Hamad International Airport Vice-President Commercial and Marketing, and Yara Elfouly.

Social Media