Chimera, the oil drill-shaped sculpture.

A gigantic iridescent, oil drill-shaped sculpture by Kuwaiti artist Monira Al Qadiri launched Expo 2020 Dubai’s striking Public Art Programme last month, which brings together 11 leading artists from the UAE, region and the world.

The immersive 11 contemporary artworks will form a creative journey around Expo 2020’s public spaces and will live on as part of the future city of District 2020. As the first curated permanent open-air art exhibition in the UAE, it will leave a lasting impact as part of the next World Expo’s legacy, providing an exciting addition to the UAE’s vibrant and thriving artistic scene.

The Public Art Programme of Expo 2020 Dubai takes inspiration from the famous Arab mathematician, astronomer, and physicist Ibn Al Haytham’s seminal work, Book of Optics (c. 11th century).

According to Tarek Abou El Fetouh, Public Art Curator, Expo 2020 Dubai, Al Qadiri’s bold sculpture Chimera – with its magnified size and reflective colour – makes it seem like a futuristic creature from outer space. “Through this sculpture, the artist attempts to merge the pre- and post-oil eras into one body. She creates aesthetic connections between pearls and oil, through their colour, materiality, symbolism, ecology and economy in order to reimagine the past, present and future of the wider Gulf region,” he said. “With 191 participating countries showcasing their arts and creativity, Expo 2020 will offer an unmissable opportunity for the public to discover a unique global collection of galleries and exhibitions in one place, while the Public Art Programme presents never-before-seen artworks for visitors to engage with during the next World Expo and beyond.”

Located across the Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability districts and Expo 2020’s two parks, the artworks will form landmarks on-site and become a permanent part of District 2020, a model global community for the future that will evolve from Expo 2020.