(Emirati, b. 1989)
Inkjet print, made from scans processed through Photoshop
Sheet: 120 x 101 cm (47 1/4 x 39 3/4 in.); Framed: 119.4 x 137.8 x 5.8 cm (47 x 54 1/4 x 2 5/16 in.)
Jo Hershey Selden Fund 2014.374
In this portrait, Demithan’s brother supports a tethered and hooded falcon while holding in his other hand the falcon’s food, a quail, behind their father’s outstretched arm, a metaphor for male elders passing their heritage to future generations. The black background and surreal presence of multiple limbs contribute to the photograph’s formal grandeur and symbolic significance. Symbols of Emirati culture and the most treasured birds of prey, falcons acquired aristocratic status by the medieval Islamic era, fuelled by increased pageantry, professional trainers, and the availability of exotic birds. Falconry probably originated in Central Asia or Iran at least 4,000 years ago.
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