The Shikari by Ali Hammad

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Ali Hammad

The Shikari

2021

127 x 101.6 cm | 50 x 40 in

Oil on canvas

  • FWSD 2023 Award

There is a beautiful African adage, “Until the lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter.”

Ever since man’s advent on Earth, two questions glaringly looked him in the face. 1, As to how to keep the wolf from the door; 2, How to fight against the rigours of the changeful seasons. Naturally he sought the answer only in hunting the animals to provide him with food and hides to cover his body. Thus with this, the unrelenting enmity between man and the predators continued.

We human beings have not only hunted for the lands; but also, precious pearls in the depths of the oceans and the stars in unfathomable space.

When I was a child my father used to read  to me the hunting stories by Jim Corbett, a great British ‘shikari’ and a naturalist.  Stories like ‘Man-Eaters Of Kumaon’ and ‘The Man-eating Leopard of Rudraprayag’  simply held me spellbound . One attribute of Jim Corbett for ‘the king of the jungle’ kept fascinating me through out my life, “The lion is a great-hearted gentleman of the jungle and would never attack a human being unless provoked”. In the light of this one can easily gauge that ironically it is not only a ‘shikari’ who comes out successful in killing the animal but sometime falls a prey to the animal himself. It is out of this strange tussle  that I always wanted to paint a man as a ‘shikari’. For this painting, I made the model stand in the contrapposto pose, to depict heroic grace and pride.