Deer in the headlights, 2014
Location: Dubai, Shindagha Heritage Village
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.