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A new landmark is being erected on Qatar’s Corniche this morning: a five-meter (16-foot) high bronze statue depicting a famous scene of two fighting footballers.

The controversial sculpture, ”Coup de Tête” – or “Head Butt” in English – was created by Algerian artist Adel Abdessemed, and captures the moment when French football player Zinedine Zidane head-butted Marco Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup.

Zidane, who was playing in his last match, was red-carded and sent off the field. Minutes later, Italy beat France, winning the tournament.

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The statue, which was bought by the Qatar Museums Authority for an undisclosed sum, will be a permanently installation on the Corniche near Al Mourjan restaurant.

It journeyed here following a successful spell outside the Pompidou center in Paris, where it was a popular draw for tourists. Jean Paul Engelen, QMA’s director of Public Art, told Doha News that he expects the sculpture to be equally popular in Qatar:

“Yes, we expect a lot of people to want to take photos with it, and of it.

It’s an impressive piece. It’s a huge sculpture, and it’s done in the same style as Greek Mythological statues, but this glorifies human defects instead. It shows that although we sometimes treat footballers like gods, they’re not – they’re just human beings.”

Coup de Tête is being installed as part of the QMA’s public art program, which was also behind eL seed’s “calligraffiti” artwork on Salwa Road underpasses, Richard Serra‘s “7” at the Museum of Islamic Art Park, Sara Lucas’ Perceval in Aspire Park (a life-sized bronze sculpture of a Shire horse) and Subodh Gupta’s Gandhi’s Three Monkeys at Katara.

More public art displays are in the works.

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Next week, QMA has confirmed that it will unveil a collection of 14 sculptures outside the under-construction Sidra Medical and Research Center.

The collection – “The Miraculous Journey,” by Damien Hirst – is literally being kept under wraps, as the works are currently concealed under big white balloons.

QMA said it wants the work to be “a surprise,” but Doha residents have been catching glimpses of the sculptures in transit, and tweeting about it:

Also coming to Doha: Fischli and Weiss’ Rock on Top of Another Rock

Currently on display outside the Serpentine Gallery in London’s Hyde Park, the 5.5 meter-tall installation, which was purchased by the QMA for an undisclosed sum, will arrive in Qatar next year, but no location has been chosen for it yet, Engelen said.

Doha’s new Hamad International Airport will also be home to a “significant presence” of public art by both Qatari and international artists, QMA has said.

Thoughts?

Credit: Top photos by Gazanfarulla Khan; photo of “Rock On Top Of Another Rock” by sczscz

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Qatar residents will soon be able to have their mail and packages delivered directly to their homes, according to the Qatar Postal Services Company (Q-Post).

Several Doha-based courier and delivery companies have been invited to apply to run the service, Q-Post Marketing Officer Mohammad Ansari told Doha News. Shortlisting of bidders is expected to take place imminently.

The move – a huge step forward from the current PO Box system – is being made following the introduction of the Qatar Area Referencing System (QARS) project, under which every home and building in the country will eventually be identified by a unique blue address plate.

Currently, residents and companies are required to rent a PO Box at a Q-Post branch if they want to receive mail – a service that costs around QR300 a year for residents, and QR500 for companies. And customers need to visit the post office in person to pick up their mail.

Companies, however, have had the option of a premium service, Khazaz, through which Q-Post delivers their post directly to their offices every day, at a cost of QR4,500 annually.

A report in the Gulf Times today states that the home delivery service would be introduced “by the end of this year,” but Q-Post’s marketing officer told Doha News that no exact date has been set for the introduction of the home delivery service. This is because it can’t begin until the QARS address plate process has been completed, Ansari said:

“Each and every postal delivery has to be scanned, so we need to make sure each house has an identifier.”

So far, 90,000 plates have been installed on buildings across the country.

We are told that deliveries will initially focus on the Dafna (West Bay) area, but the intention is to eventually extend the service to all 99 zones across Qatar.

Parcel delivery

The Doha Postal Strategy, which was adopted at the Universal Postal Congress in Doha last year, notes that despite a worldwide decrease in the sending of letters, the demand for home delivery of parcels has grown due to the popularity of online shopping.

This is certainly the case in Qatar, where many residents choose to use shipping companies like Aramex and DHL to deliver international online purchases to their homes.

Thoughts?

Credit: Photo by Simon Grieg