The falcon of Tanker May


An elaborate version of the bird adorns the wall of a soon-to-be-demolished building in an Abu Dhabi district of typing centres, cafeterias and low-rise apartment blocks. Why is it there, and what does it symbolise?

Is it a bird? Is it a symbol? Or is it both? As the keen-eyed among you may have noticed, this ­humble sign is actually a home-made version of the UAE’s national emblem.

Unlike the falcon that serves as its inspiration, however, this bird is unlikely to arouse a sense of patriotism, but what it lacks as a national symbol, it more than makes up for with its charm.

If the bird’s maker weren’t a patriot, they certainly took great pride in their work and the care that went into this falcon’s making is palpable.

Each of the bird’s body parts – its eye, head, body and feathers – have been carefully and individually rendered in hardboard and plywood in ways that contrast the finish of both woods, and the result is an affectionate and a genuinely naive example of what could easily be defined as folk art.

For the rest of this article, please visit The National

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