Dancing in Million Street, Madinat Zayed

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The work of photographer Yiannis Roussakis, the focus of an exhibition at the Etihad Modern Art Gallery in Abu Dhabi, celebrates Emirati heritage in spectacular style

At the end of each year there is only one place in the world for those who have a serious interest in camels. A dusty stretch of unmade track on the outskirts of Madinat Zayed is the heart of Al Dhafra Camel Festival.

It is there, with all the expected wheeling and dealing, that the best camels are bought and sold.

Such is the value of these transactions — estimated at about Dh200 million — that this section of the festival is known simply as “Million Street”.

The name also inspires the title of a new exhibition at Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Modern Art Gallery by UAE photographer Yiannis Roussakis.

Roussakis watched events unfold at last year’s festival, focusing as much on the faces and characters of those who attend as their precious livestock.

As he writes: “The proud owners kept dancing in circles in the middle of the road, loud music and cheering everywhere, with the winning camels always at the centre of the stage, dressed in shiny fabrics and ornaments. Standing still in the middle of all this chaos, one realises that these men celebrate the simple fact that they are here and now, alive on Earth.”

The Million Street runs until March 31 at the gallery in Al Bateen. Hours are 10am to 10pm daily except Fridays.

For more information, call 02 621 0145 or visit etihadmodernart.com.