British artist Damien Hirst, best know for his work of a shark preserved in formaldehyde inside an acrylic display case that ultimately sold for $12 million, is back with a new, more provocative installation.
The Miraculous Journey, 14 massive bronze sculptures which chart human gestation from conception to birth, is situated outside the Sidra Medical and Research Center in Qatar. These huge figures are arranged in chronological order, cataloging the metamorphosis of their early development.
The sculptures begin with the fertilization of the egg in the womb, followed by 12 realizations of its evolution, and ends with a massive, fully formed baby dancing in the joy of life.
Hirst’s work is purposely done to shock the sensibility of the viewer and make them think more about what they think they know. I have no idea what Hirst’s view on abortion is, but in Qatar abortion is punishable by jail and deportation.
If a woman’s health is at risk, three independent doctors can certify that she can be given an abortion. Qatar laws are strict and casual abortion as birth control is an absolute no. One can’t help wonder what changes have taken place in Hirst over time, considering most of his past work centers on death, this new work celebrates life.
If changing the culture of death in regards to the unborn is an artist’s goal, then thoughtful works of art such as this is the best way of doing that. Not by shoving giant HD photos of the horror of abortion in the face of the public, that makes it too easy to look the other way.
Hirst new work, The Miraculous Journey, is just such a piece of thoughtful art, and one you’d never see in the front of Planned Parenthood.