Tariq Dajani: Drinkers of the Wind

 Tariq Dajani, Attar Dirab, 2005. Courtesy of the artist and Mestaria.

Tariq Dajani, Attar Dirab, 2005. Courtesy of the artist and Mestaria.

This is the Arabian horse and the hunting falcon but not in the oh-so-cliched, we've seen it all before kind of way. At Showcase Gallery, Tariq Dajani is currently presenting Asil and Saqr, studies of the two regional animals in a series of intimate yet dramatic portraits that celebrate his subject.

Asil is an Arabic word signifying purity, nobility and authenticity and for these portraits, Dajani has taken the majestic Arabian horse into a studio setting so that every muscle and curve is visible as well as the animal's character.

 Tariq Dajani, Peregrine Falcon (Falco Peregrinus) 2011. Courtesy of the artist and Mestaria

Tariq Dajani, Peregrine Falcon (Falco Peregrinus) 2011. Courtesy of the artist and Mestaria

Saqr, the general name for falcon in Arabic, pays homage to the importance of these birds of prey in ancient Arabia. In Dajani’s prints we see the noble falcon, wings outstretched, head proudly tilted encouraging the viewer to consider a different  perspective of this enigmatic and powerful creature.

“For me, it wasn’t about taking pretty pictures of horses, it was a journey to reaffirm my identity,” Dajani explains. “I wanted to connect with my Arab roots and one of the ways I could do so as a photographer, was by focussing on the Arabian horse, a symbol of beauty, strength and admired throughout the world. It was particularly important to me to choose this symbol as so many things about the Arab region are portrayed negatively; I wanted to be proud of something from my own heritage.”

The exhibition's rather lovely title is taken from a book by Carl Raswan, published in 1942, about the author’s journey to the Middle East to find the famed Arabian horse. Dajani chose the title as it resonates with the swift horse and the soaring bird and also as it metaphorically reflects his own journey of reconnecting with his heritage.

The show, co-hosted by the gallery and Mestaria, opened as part of GPP Photoweek but is up for the next few weeks. Don't miss out. 

  • Drinkers of the Wind. February 6 - March 11, 2018