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Prada Oasis and Damien Hirst’s Pharmacy Juice Bar

Miuccia Prada has always demonstrated her big love and appreciation for art. From her Fondazione Prada in Milan, an institution dedicated to contemporary art and culture, to her architectural land art project “Prada Marfa” in Texas, a groundbreaking collaboration with Elmgreen and Dragsetand, she has established herself as a committed art patron, while at the same time being one of Italy’s foremost art collectors. Throughout her prolific fashion career she has teamed up with various artists and illustrators in order to customize bags or create unique prints for her collections. A recent example is the series of pieces inspired by street art murals of her latest show in Milan. With all these in mind, we’d say it was about time that she and England´s favorite artist Damien Hirst came together, exploring the possibilities of mutual inspiration in a perfect dialogue between fashion and art.

The celebration of Damien Hirst’s “Relics” retrospective at the Doha’s Al Riwaq Exhibition Space (10 0ct- 22 Jan) served as an excuse for Prada and Hirst to team up and create an astounding desert mirage in the form of a pop-up juice bar in Qatar. Located within a nearby Bedouin tent, the “Prada Oasis and Damien Hirst’s Pharmacy Juice Bar” came decked out as a drug store, a reinterpretation of the artist’s late 1990s “Pharmacy Restaurant”, and accompanied a nearby Prada boutique, similarly housed within a traditional tent made from sheep hair. As the Qatar Museum Authority’s director of public art, Jean Paul Engelen, explained, the project sought to create an out-of-the-ordinary place which, for just two days, provided a totally unique experience in the Arab landscape.

Although former Prada art extensions such as the aforementioned installation in Marfa were not in fact shoppable, for this project Miuccia Prada crafted 20 limited edition “Entomology” Plexiglas bags, encasing jewel-encrusted beetles. The bags pay tribute to Hirst’s “Entomology Cabinets and Paintings” series, back from 2009, where butterflies were interspersed with thousands of highly colored insects and spiders. Hirst was originally drawn to them because they embody the fragility of life, retaining an iridescent beauty even when dead. All proceeds from the sale of the bespoke bags will go to the Sheikha’s Reach Out To Asia non-profit organization that aims to improve youth access to education in Asia and the Middle East.