Monday, April 19, 2010

Bodies: Whole or Broken?

Browsing through one of my favorite websites – the Jeddah Daily Photo Journal – I came across something weird: the horse sculptures.

My first thought was that this is taking the concept of "breaking a horse" a little too far.

These horses are disfigured, as the blog author, Susie of Arabia, notes, because Islam forbids the depiction of a living being, so the typical way around this is to depict a living being with a part missing.

Maybe the public art in Jeddah is “broken” for poetic reasons. But most Saudis will tell you: it doesn’t matter what the artist does, the authorities won’t let it fly if it’s “whole”. Witness: pedestrian crossing signs.

The subject of wholeness makes me think of Nizar Qabbani’s poem, “Your Body is My Map”.

…chant to me
since from the start of creation
I’ve been searching for a homeland to my forehead

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