The Whites of Their Eyes is a site-specific work that comprises various projections on the existing foliage of Riyadh’s Wadi Namar. It uses the classic TV trope of eyes blinking in the darkness to depict something lurking in the dark. The artist was drawn to the primal fear of the dark and wanted to explore the phenomenon of Abu Fanous, an unusual light effect that has been documented in the remote desert areas of the Arabian Peninsula. Over the years several travelers have observed a faint and distant light, but if the adventurer tries to approach this light, it disappears and may appear in another place. The residents of those areas call it “Abu Fanous”, “Abu Siraj”, or “Abu Nuweira” as a metaphor for a misleading beacon in the desert.
The whites of their eyes, 2023 ©Aziz Jamal
Commissioned by RCRC and Riyadh Art