A bronze thumb sculpture in the middle of Souq Waqif, with a number of buildings and cafes in the background.

Pouce (Thumb)

The installation of César's Pouce in Souq Waqif continues the programme of installations by major artists at unexpected locations throughout Qatar.

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Qatar Museums selected Souq Waqif as the location for Pouce so the work could act as a landmark of modern art in the heart of the city, combining the traditional with the contemporary. Its central position, at the top of Al Souq Street and at the heart of the bustling restaurant area, emphasises its scale in relation to the surrounding streetscape of cafés, coffee shops and eateries.

At night, the highly polished bronze patina of the sculpture complements the glow of street lighting at this site and during the day, the work is visible from numerous angles and street views. It has become a prominent marker, a familiar spot where people agree to meet. It also provides an important location for tourists and visitors and has become a stop within public art tours that reflect upon both the art and the diverse public spaces of the city.

About the Artist

César Baldaccini (1921-1998) was born of Italian parents in Marseilles, France. He was a key figure in the French 1960s art movement Noveau Réalisme, emphasising the use of everyday objects over traditional art materials.

The original cast of the artist’s own thumb was first produced for an exhibition on the theme of hands titled Le Main in 1965, in Paris. The artist then made a series of increasingly larger versions of the thumb, scaling up the smaller model using traditional techniques. The motif of the thumb has since become the most well known of the artist’s subjects.