Dia Azzawi’s Doha airport sculptures hit new heights

The Iraqi-born artist Dia Azzawi is at the peak of his career right now, with a monumental solo show—the largest ever of an Arab artist—on show at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art and QM Gallery Al Riwaq in Doha (until 16 April 2017). But now his art work is reaching new heights with two public art commissions in Doha’s Hamad International Airport (HIA). The sculptures, titled Flying Man, feature Bin Firnas, a historical figure from the Islamic world who was an early pioneer in experimenting with flight, standing atop two monumental Mesopotamia-inspired pillars. According to Badr Mohammed Al Meer, the chief operating officer at HIA, the works are a “celebration of travel”. Azzawi’s works join the airport’s growing list of public works that include Urs Fischer’s larger-than-life Lamp Bear, a series of Oryx sculptures by the Dutch artist Tom Claassen, and Arctic Nurseries of El Dorado by Marc Quinn. “Our airport terminal is a public space that welcomes millions of people every year,” Al Meer says. “HIA prides itself on being an innovative exhibition space.”

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