A pink taxi

A pink taxi

October 13, 2011

Nadim Karam's Fox

"Horse" said my 20 month old nephew, when I took him on a promenade to meet the fox under the  Arch of Dubai, at DIFC.

I visit Nadim Karam's glass sculpture at least twice a week, because my sneakers lead me there, after a "earth shattering" circuit training session at the gym. I always take a picture of it because I am attached to it and especially because I sense the weight of its reference!

How incongruent is the placement of a fox, straight out of the French classic, Little Prince, landing in its mirrored artistic beauty in the heart of the Financial activity of the Arabian Gulf?! I have watched pedestrians walk by it, without a single glance.

"I am a fox," the fox said.
"Come and play with me," proposed the little prince, "I am so unhappy."
"I cannot play with you," the fox said, "I am not tamed."

The original French text of Saint Exupery pops in my mind, with a smile, every time I encounter the fox. Indeed, the fox by Nadim Karam, is surrealist, fantastic and even "wicked" as best described by a friend when I sent the isolated picture of its snail like, bulls eye tail. Isn't that tail inspired by the fantasy of Miro's symbolism?

My father, slightly critical of his compatriot artist (yes Karam is a young Lebanese) commented that the over-grown ears resemble those of a donkey. My parent did not double check the original drawings by Saint Exupery, in the precious book, that is a permanent classic by my bed. Karam has faithfully reproduced the ears, perhaps just making them a little more figurative.

And so, as a ritual, I walk by the glass statue, that reflects the dynamic DIFC on one of its facades and the futuristic and sexy Emirates Towers on the other. And as a ritual, I gaze at myself in its mirrors, because that is what mirrors attract.  And I ponder my favorite quote by Saint Exupery:

"It would have been better to come back at the same hour," said the fox. "If for example, you came at four o'clock in the afternoon, then at three o'clock I shall begin to be happy. I shall feel happier and happier as the hour advances."

The beauty of rituals. All in the name of public art.


  1. He calls a fox a horse and a big dog a lion. Isn't that what Le Petit Prince is all about? Seeing the world through the innocent eyes of a child?

  2. I used to tease my youngest child by asking him whether he is a donkey or a horse to measure his scholastic performance. For Arabs the horse is the most noble animal,while his poor cousin is degraded.
    Once I stopped to take a picture of my 5 year old son near a camel,which abounded on the streets of Dubai in the 80s. I jokingly asked him to say something to the huge animal.He quickly remarked: you are Arab,why don't you speak to him ?
    As to Karam's "fox", it still looks like a donkey!