Deer in the Headlights
Category: “InVisible” Public Art Commission
In May 2014, an Arabian Mountain gazelle was spotted running down the road at the Palm Jumeirah. The creature was seen “on the divider on the trunk of the island,” like a mirage; an eruption of nature within an urban environment. Bindu Rai reported the incident on Emirates 24/7 and it became the basis for Doa Aly’s elusive monument. Describing it as “a deer in the headlights moment”, Aly was struck by Rai’s awe and astonishment at the event.
Aly’s sculpture interprets this awe - the experience of being confronted with a body where it does not belong. “Life is metaphysical,” says Merleau-Ponty. A gazelle sprinting along the highway becomes a sublime event, at once prehistoric and futuristic. The monument takes the form of a mountain gazelle’s skull, only the animal’s head is without its trademark horns. Colossal and mounted on a display stand in plain view. It is suggestive of natural history museums, filled with mounted animal heads, reminding us of man’s dominance over nature.
But the gazelle remains elusive. Misplaced, stylized, and hovering above each passersby, a gazelle’s skull is at once fragile and violent; confronting the onlooker with his or her own vulnerability and hubris.
Master sculptor: Ahmad Moussa
Sculptors: Ahmad Kamal, Boshoy Nabil, Basma Zaki, Abdel-Rahman
Doa Aly (born in Egypt, 1976) is a visual artist based in Cairo. She studied painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Helwan University, in Cairo where she received her BFA in 2001. Her work is informed by the notion of disturbance and is often based on short stories, epics and myths that speak of an intense struggle between control and consummation. Selected group exhibitions include Meeting Points 6, Beirut Art Center, Beirut; Argos, Brussels, The Future of Tradition, Haus Der Kunst, Munich, 7th Busan Biennale and 11th Istanbul Biennial. Solo exhibitions include Darat Al Funun, Amman and Townhouse Gallery, Cairo.