Sculpture by Local Artist that Represents Qatar’s resilience

Qatar Museums, in collaboration with Qatari Diar and Msheireb Properties, will launch two art installations as part of the second edition of the 5/6 initiative. SCALE talks to Shouq Al Mana about her installation and artistic direction.

SCALE had already featured, Shua’a Ali one of the two featured artists and now we look at Shouq Al Mana’s sculpture titled Egal that serves as a tribute to Qatar’s history, traditions, and cultural heritage.

“Egal” is traditionally a headpiece worn by Qatari males as a part of the national attire. It carries various profound meanings under different contexts. The subtle tilt of the egal expresses the movement of raising the egal as a sign of appreciation by the Qatari people and Qatar’s residents to His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al- Thani, His Highness the Father Amir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani and the Qatari government for the developments they have achieved in numerous fields.

Shouq Al-Mana is a Qatari visual artist who received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar in 2017. Majoring in painting and printmaking, her practice includes painting, installation art, and sculpture. She has been exploring the use of gestural abstraction and body language to emphasise the story behind her artworks and to focus on her interest in the presence of culture and poetry in contemporary society.

“I started my pursuit of art at the age of 17, I developed an interest in contemporary art soon after and went to Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar to study Painting & Printmaking,” she says about the time when her interest in art began.

Shouq Al Mana is quite well-known in the artist circles with her installation and art commissions in Qatar. “My first big commission was in 2017, I was an artist in residence at Fire Station and was creating a lot of artworks relating to culture and nationalism,” she says recalling her first commissioned works. She has been part of many artistic collaborations and exhibitions in the country:  exhibition with artist Ali Hassan, in 2020 she exhibited her works at Outbreak, as part of Ajyal film festival gallery, Doha, and also for ‘A Tribute to Beirut’ at the Al Hosh Gallery, Doha, Qatar

But the most striking art commission that Shouq Al Mana has completed is that at the National Museum of Qatar, as Qatar Museums Public Art commission for The Chairperson H.E. Sheikha AI-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa AI-Thani.

Egal is completed in steel and is a representation of the headgear worn by the Arab men. “The vision is to pay tribute to the headpiece and the deep meaning it carries; I have also specifically chosen the number 5 as it represents the day of Qatar’s blockade in June of 2017. It symbolises the nation’s strength and its people’s tenacity,” says Shouq.

Shouq Al Mana has had positive experiences being in a country that supports arts. She says, “The art scene in Qatar is continuously growing and the nation is committed to encouraging that growth in various ways so that’s definitely one of my main motivators. I have been blessed throughout the years to have had several mentors and I am grateful for all the lessons and guidance they have provided me, I have had several collaborations with artists such as Ali Hassan that have been memorable and exciting experiences.”

According to Qatar Museums, these artworks boost the thriving cultural landscape of the country and helps the citizens reflect on social, historical, and cultural issues that matter.

Speaking on behalf of Qatari Diar, the Director of Development- Qatar, Hamad Ali Alabdulmaliksaid: “Once again we are pleased to collaborate with Qatar Museums to promote and facilitate public art in key locations – this time at Lusail Marina. This project is particularly close to our hearts – reflecting, as it does, the pride and solidarity shown by both Qataris and Qatar residents in overcoming the challenges of recent years. By working specifically with Qatari sculptors on this project, we aim to raise the confidence of the local artist community, inspiring them to develop new pieces on a similar theme.”