The East Arabian Gemitar

When people travel to new countries they often enjoy eating exotic foods that they may otherwise find difficult to obtain. This experience is a large part of the joy of travel, but not knowing where the food comes from is a problem that should be considered by the budding traveller. The Oryx has suffered due to this problem. There are four different species of Oryx; the Gemsbok, which is prolific in South Africa, the East African Oryx, which is close to threatened, the Arabian Oryx, which is considered a vulnerable species and finally, the Scimitar which has been driven to extinction in the wild by hunters and poachers. These four animals are very difficult to tell apart, and impossible to differentiate when they are served as meat.

‘The East Arabian Gemitar’ (2012) is a work that considers this issue, using the Oryx as an example to explain the issues concerning many threatened species that are considered delicacies in foreign lands. It was first constructed for the group exhibition ‘The Word Conterminous 2’ at Jugglers Artspace, and included a variety of white tea cups with delicately drawn images of the four different oryx’s hanging from a hook. At the end of each string is a tag explaining the species and its ecological status. The drawings were difficult to differentiate.

“Oryx,” Wikipedia, last modified 12 March 2013,