Qatar Museums opens exhibition of renowned Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama on the grounds of Museum of Islamic Art
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Qatar Museums opens exhibition of renowned Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama on the grounds of Museum of Islamic Art
Yayoi Kusama, Flowers That Speak All about My Heart Given to the Sky, 2018. Installation view,My Soul Blooms Forever, Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, Qatar. Photo courtesy of Qatar Museums. Artwork © YAYOI KUSAMA. CourtesyDavid Zwirner, Ota Fine Arts, and Victoria Miro.

DOHA.- The grounds of the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) are being transformed with an expansive outdoor exhibition, My Soul Blooms Forever, showcasing the iconic artworks of celebrated Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. The exhibition, which includes several large-scale artworks that have never been shown in the region, explores the artist's fascination with the natural world through epic sculptural installations of colourful, fantastically scaled plants and iconic polka-dotted pumpkins sculptures.

My Soul Blooms Forever, on view at MIA Park until 1 March 2023, marks the 10-year anniversary of Qatar’s Years of Culture programme and is a legacy of the Qatar-Japan Year of Culture celebrated in 2012. The artworks have been installed as part of Qatar Creates, the year-round national cultural movement that curates, promotes, and celebrates the diversity of cultural activities in Qatar, during which Qatar Museums has installed more than 40 additional public artworks by celebrated Qatari, regional, and international artists throughout Doha and the nation. The exhibition is presented with the exclusive sponsorship support of Louis Vuitton.

“The grounds of the Museum of Islamic Art have become a favourite outdoor gathering place in Doha, marked by an array of public artworks that range from playful to iconic. With these new installations by Yayoi Kusama — one of the world’s most visionary artists — MIA Park has been magically transformed for the people we are welcoming from around the world for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022,” said Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums.

Highlights include:

● My Soul Blooms Forever (2019), comprising five whimsical flowers that measure between six and nine feet high (183 centimetres to 274 centimetres) that are brightly coloured and features the artist’s distinctive bold palette

● Dancing Pumpkin (2020) represents a new format for the artist with bronze tufts spread more than 16 feet (490 centimetres) from the center, giving the impression of being in motion; this work has never been shown in the region

● Narcissus Garden, the artist's earliest outdoor installation, which was first presented in 1966 on the lawn outside the Italian Pavilion at the 33rd Venice Biennale, comprising 1,300 stainless-steel spheres installed within the fountain at the entrance to the Museum of Islamic Art

● I Want to Fly to the Universe (2020), reminiscent of the artist’s 2019 Love Flies Up to the Sky balloon created for the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and derives from motifs elaborated in the artist’s My Eternal Soul paintings; this work has never been shown in the region

● Infinity Mirrored Room – Dancing Lights that Flew Up to the Universe (2019) an enclosed, mirror-paneled room with hundreds of LED lights suspended at varying heights from the ceiling that continuously flicker on and off, on view at QM Gallery Al Riwaq

● Ascension of Polka Dots on the Trees (2002/2022) installed in MIA Park, lined by dozens of date palms planted on each side of the path that runs along Doha’s Corniche

Yayoi Kusama
Born in 1929 in Matsumoto, Japan, Yayoi Kusama’s work has been featured widely in both solo and group presentations. She presented her first solo show in her native Japan in 1952. In the mid-1960s, she established herself in New York as an important avant-garde artist by staging groundbreaking and influential happenings, events, and exhibitions. Kusama’s work has transcended two of the most important art movements of the second half of the twentieth century: pop art and minimalism. Her highly influential career spans paintings, performances, room-size presentations, outdoor sculptural installations, literary works, films, fashion, design, and interventions within existing architectural structures. Her work gained renewed widespread recognition in the late 1980s following a number of international solo exhibitions, including shows at the Center for International Contemporary Arts, New York, and the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, both of which took place in 1989. She represented Japan in 1993 at the 45th Venice Biennale, to much critical acclaim. In 1998, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, co-organized Love Forever: Yayoi Kusama, 1958–1968, which toured to the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (1998-1999), and Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (1999).

More recently, in 2011 to 2012, her work was the subject of a large-scale retrospective that traveled to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Tate Modern, London; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. From 2012 through 2015, three major museum solo presentations of the artist’s work simultaneously traveled to major museums throughout Japan, Asia, and Central and South America. In 2015, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, Denmark, organized a comprehensive overview of Kusama’s practice that traveled to Henie-Onstad Kunstsenter, Høvikodden, Norway; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; and Helsinki Art Museum. In 2017-2019, a major survey of the artist’s work, Infinity Mirrors, was presented at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; Seattle Art Museum; The Broad, Los Angeles; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; The Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio; and the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia. Yayoi Kusama: Life Is the Heart of the Rainbow, which marked the first large-scale exhibition of Kusama’s work presented in Southeast Asia, opened at the National Gallery of Singapore in 2017 and traveled to the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane, Australia and the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara, Jakarta.

A comprehensive retrospective of the artist’s work was on view at Gropius Bau, Berlin in 2021, and traveled to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art from November 2021 through May 2022. KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature was on view at The New York Botanical Garden in 2021. Tate Modern, London, is presenting Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirror Rooms through June 11, 2023. In Montreal, the PHI Foundation for Contemporary Art, is currently presenting Yayoi Kusama: DANCING LIGHTS THAT FLEW UP TO THE UNIVERSE. YAYOI KUSAMA: 1945 to Now,the largest retrospective of the artist’s work in Asia outside Japan is on view at M+ Hong Kong from November 12, 2022 through May 14, 2023.

Qatar Museums
Qatar Museums (QM), the nation's preeminent institution for art and culture, provides authentic and inspiring cultural experiences through a growing network of museums, heritage sites, festivals, public art installations, and programmes. QM preserves, restores, and expands the nation's cultural offerings and historical sites, sharing art and culture from Qatar, the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia (MENASA) region with the world and enriching the lives of citizens, residents, and visitors.

Under the patronage of His Highness the Amir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and led by its Chairperson, Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, QM has made Qatar a vibrant centre for the arts, culture, and education in the Middle East and beyond. QM is integral to the goal of developing an innovative, diverse, and progressive nation, bringing people together to ignite new thinking, spark critical cultural conversations, educate and encourage environmental stewardship and sustainable practices, and amplify the voices of Qatar's people. Since its founding in 2005, QM has overseen the Museum of Islamic Art and MIA Park, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, the National Museum of Qatar, QM Gallery Al Riwaq, QM Gallery Katara, 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum, and Dadu, Children's Museum of Qatar.

Through its newly created Creative Hub, QM also initiates and supports projects—such as the Fire Station Artist in Residence, the Tasweer Qatar Photo Festival and the creative hub for innovation, fashion and design M7—that nurture artistic talent and create opportunities to build a strong and sustainable cultural infrastructure.

Animating everything that Qatar Museums does is an authentic connection to Qatar and its heritage, a steadfast commitment to inclusivity and accessibility, and a belief in creating value through invention.

Qatar Years of Culture
Culture is one of the most effective tools to bring people closer together, encourage dialogue, and deepen understanding between nations. Under the leadership of its Chairperson Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Qatar Museums (QM) developed the annual “Years of Culture” initiative — an international cultural exchange that deepens understanding between nations and their people. Though formal programming lasts only one year, the ties of friendship that are strengthened and formed are long-lasting.

In celebration of its 10th anniversary, the 2022 Year of Culture will offer programming from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA). The Qatar-MENASA Year of Culture 2022 will include countries and communities from: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Bhutan, Egypt, India, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Maldives, Morocco, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

Qatar-MENASA Year of Culture 2022 has been developed in collaboration with leading organizations in Qatar, including Doha Film Institute, Education Above All, Katara Cultural Village, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Qatar Charity, Qatar Football Association, Qatar Foundation, Qatar Museums, Qatar National Library, Qatar Tourism, Qatar Olympic Committee, Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, with assistance from Doha-based embassies of participating countries. The Qatar-MENASA 2022 Year of Culture is supported by Qatar Airways.

Qatar Public Art
Qatar Museums’ extensive programme of public art demonstrates its commitment to bringing art directly to the people and expanding everyone’s creative horizons. Highlights of the public artworks on view, which enrich the lives of all citizens, include: the neon installation A Blessing in Disguise by Ghada Al Khater at Fire Station: Artists in Residence; Smoke, a sculpture by Tony Smith at the Doha Exhibition & Convention Centre; East-West/West-East, a monumental sculpture in the heart of the Qatar desert by Richard Serra; Gandhi’s Three Monkeys by Subodh Gupta at Katara Cultural Village; and Maman, a sculpture by Louise Bourgeois in the form of a giant steel spider at the Qatar National Convention Centre, Qatar Foundation. QM also collaborates with the Hamad International Airport (HIA), where major artworks created by local, regional, and international artists—including Adel Abdessemed, Ahmed Al Bahrani, Dia al-Azzawi, Mubarak Al Malik, Salman Al Malik, Amal Al Rabban, Tom Claassen, Urs Fischer, Ali Hassan, KAWS, Tom Otterness, and Bill Viola—can be seen.

QM also supports a variety of initiatives that aim to engage with contemporary artists in Qatar, including the 5/6 initiative, an annual open call inviting artists to propose a permanent public artwork to commemorate Qatar's resilience; the Student Competition, inviting students and alumni of Qatari universities to create a temporary public artwork to be placed around the city; and JEDARIART, an annual programme activating the city walls bringing together artists through murals to enrich daily life and encourage the community to reflect on social, historical, and cultural issues. Other programmes such as tours, talks, and the protecting public art campaign occur throughout the year. Architect Abdulrahman Ahmed Al-Ishaq serves as Director of QM's Public Art department.

Louis Vuitton
Since 1854, Louis Vuitton has brought unique designs to the world, combining innovation with style, always aiming for the finest quality and preserving biodiversity. Today, the House remains faithful to the spirit of its founder, Louis Vuitton, who invented a genuine “Art of Travel” through luggage, bags and accessories which were as creative as they were elegant and practical. Since then, audacity has shaped the story of Louis Vuitton. Faithful to its heritage, Louis Vuitton has opened its doors to architects, artists and designers across the years, all the while developing disciplines such as ready-to-wear, shoes, accessories, watches, jewellery, and fragrance. These carefully created products are testament to Louis Vuitton’s commitment to fine craftsmanship.

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