Amazing Bronze Sculptures Depict Unborn Baby’s “Miraculous Journey” to Birth

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 19, 2018   |   7:12PM   |   Washington, DC

A hospital in Qatar has received worldwide attention for 14 huge bronze sculptures that depict the unborn child’s journey from conception to birth. Three years in the making, the sculptures conclude with a 46-foot-tall baby boy. Collectively they weigh 216 tons and cost $20 million to make and install.

Artist Damien Hirst has talked about the process, and secrecy, behind them.

Most of the work, “fraught with secrecy,” was carried out in Hirst’s studio in England. “The first meeting I had with the architects, I was not allowed to tell them what the sculptures were because they wanted it to be a surprise,” Hirst said.

Hirst traced his fascination with childbirth to having children of his own. “Everyone talks about our life’s journey, but we have a whole journey before you’re born,” he explained.

“Ultimately, the journey a baby goes through before birth is bigger than anything it will experience in its human life,” Hirst said. “I hope the sculpture will instill 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.”

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The vast open-air installation, named “The Miraculous Journey”, shows a foetus growing in the womb and culminates with a 14-metre (46-feet) of a naked baby just after birth.

The monumental work is the centrepiece of an impressive modern art collection at the Sidra Medicine Hospital, officially opened this week in Doha, that would be the envy of many galleries around the world.

“We believe it reflects very much the mission of Sidra, taking care of the healthcare of woman and babies,” said Layla Ibrahim Bacha, art specialist with the government-supported Qatar Foundation, which owns most of the artwork.

“I think it’s perfect for the location, as you can see a lot of people are taking pictures, I think its becoming iconic.”

The sculptures were originally unveiled in October 2013 but then covered from public view until recent weeks.

The official reason was to protect them from ongoing building work on the hospital, but they were concealed after a social media outcry.