The huge sculptures show the baby’s journey from conception until birth.
“Everyone talks about our life’s journey, but we have a whole journey before you’re born.”
The humanity of the unborn baby is being prominently displayed in the form of fourteen colossal bronze sculptures charting the journey from conception until birth in front of a hospital in Qatar.
‘The Miraculous Journey’, by British artist Damien Hirst, begins with conception and ends with a fully formed baby boy. The figures range from 5 to 11 metres in height and the whole structure weighs 216 metric tonnes.
The figures stand outside the newly opened Sidra Medicine Hospital in Doha. They were first unveiled in 2013 but were covered from public view until recent weeks, after a social media outcry in the conservative country at the time over the “first naked sculpture in the Middle East”.
Layla Ibrahim Bacha, art specialist with the government-supported Qatar Foundation, which owns most of the artwork, said: “We believe it reflects very much the mission of Sidra, taking care of the healthcare of woman and babies.”
Awe and wonder
Damien Hirst said in 2013 that he became fascinated with childbirth after having children of his own. “Everyone talks about our life’s journey, but we have a whole journey before you’re born,” he explained.
The artist also spoke about the wonder of the child in the womb. “Ultimately, the journey a baby goes through before birth is bigger than anything it will experience in its human life,” he said. “I hope the sculpture will instil in the viewer a sense of awe and wonder at this extraordinary human process, which will soon be occurring in the Sidra Medical Center, as well as every second all across the globe.”
Hannah Clugston writes in the Guardian: “I can’t think of anything less controversial. Every single person on the planet has been born.” Every single person was also an unborn baby, and started life at conception – and that often controversial truth is now displayed in a more prominent way than ever before.