Drew Tal – Awakening
Dimensions: 47.5 x 47.5″
Media: Duraflex fine art archival paper mounted
between aluminum and clear plexiglass
Drew Tal’s Awakening acts as both an exploration of a foreign religion and as a way to challenge the audience’s perceptions of Islamic gender roles and female sexuality. While the figures suggest anonymity and a feeling of individual erasure, the woman with opened eyes encourages the viewers to settle their gaze on her corporeal presence and the message she bears. Tal uses the title of the work to draw attention to both a state of physical alertness and to a more ambiguous suggestion of identity and gendered awareness.
Drew Tal grew up in the Middle East in the 1960s in the early stages of Israel’s statehood, granting him exposure to a cosmopolitan mix of cultures, races, and languages. Tal’s adolescence and encompassing environment have since provided the driving subject matter for his works and informed his artistic process; much like the cultural collage of his past, Tal uses collage-esque techniques in his work to layer photographs and painting in a contemporary and highly personal hybrid. Tal’s work focuses on exploring the nuances and ways of life of individuals existing within cultures outside of his own, and combines a fascination with aesthetic beauty and cultural symbolism in his depictions of children and Islamic women. Through photography captured during his extensive travels, Tal uses the historical and cultural significance of textiles juxtaposed before the powerful and direct gazes of his subjects—insisting acknowledgement and and reconsideration of previously established biases. Through his work, Tal
celebrates diversity within modern life and the ability to transcend racial boundaries through visual, non-verbal mediums. Tal’s work has been shown in numerous, renowned galleries around the world, in locations such as New York, Lille, Toronto, and Santa Fe.