Six individuals who were involved in vandalising the iconic 'East West/West East' installation by internationally acclaimed artist Richard Serra in the past two months, have been apprehended by Qatari authorities, according to Qatar Museums (QM).
In a post on its Instagram page Wednesday, QM said “legal procedures are in process” against the vandals.
“Over the last two months, security have patrolled the area and are reporting incidents to the police. Vandalism of all kinds is a crime punishable by law, and QM emphasises our collective social responsibility to preserve public art,” QM noted.
QM, which launched an anti-vandalism campaign in September last year, stressed that vandalism of all kinds is a crime punishable by law, and underscored the importance of protecting and preserving public art in the country.
QM has been working with government and non-governmental organisations to engage different segments of the community as part of this campaign. It is also seeking to add surveillance measures to monitor public artworks and to punish violators in accordance with Qatar’s existing laws.
QM also exerts efforts in educating the community and raising public awareness on the importance of public art, stressing “these artworks are not just decorative elements.”
QM held a clean-up drive to restore Serra’s sculpture in the Brouq nature reserve in Zekreet after it was defaced. The installation, spanning more than a kilometre and comprising four steel plates (over 14m tall), has become one of Qatar’s major tourism attractions.
Visit Qatar, the official social media tourism account of the Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC), is also promoting this stunning public artwork on its social media pages.
It is learnt that many residents have visited Zekreet to see 'East West/West East' and other attractions in the area during the cold months.
Besides Serra’s installation, Qatar also showcases many public artworks by renowned artists such as Damien Hirst, El Seed, Louise Bourgeois and Subodh Gupta, among others.
QM also launched several art initiatives, including Jedariart, aimed at adding meaning to the city’s walls through curated murals and street art. Some 17 Doha-based artists created their pieces at various locations such as Al Abraj Park, Doha Expressway, Al Asmakh area, Al Khor Interchange, Post Office Park, 5/6 Park, 5/6 Flyover, Qatar National Library Metro Station, and the Woqod Petrol Station in Fereej Kulaib.
Jedariart was organised in partnership with the Supreme Committee of Beautification of Roads and Public Places, QRail, Woqod, and the Doha Fire Station: Artist in Residence.