Only From The Heart Can You Touch The Sky

Exhibition dates: 12 April 2012 – 9 June 2012

Opening night: Wednesday, 11 April 2012, 6:00-8:00pm

Opening night speaker: Julian Burnside AO QC, barrister, author, human rights and refugee advocate.

Entertainment:Live performance by Hazara musician Zia Sahil and his band

About the exhibition

image

Artwork: Ali Baba Awrang

Drawing its title from a from a poem by Movlana Jalal al-Din Rumi, the celebrated 13th-century Persian mystic poet, Only From The Heart Can You Touch The Sky focuses on the fusion of art and poetry.

In conceiving Only From The Heart Can You Touch The Sky, there was an understanding that everything was to be considered from the point of view of the heart, and that text and poetry were integral to the artwork.

Only From The Heart Can You Touch The Sky features paintings by Hazara artists Khadim Ali (Australia-Afghanistan) and Ali Baba Awrang (Afghanistan), calligraphy by Iranian poet and playwright Mammad Aidani, as well as Persian rugs.

As an art form that allows for the expression of existential and spiritual devotion to friendship, belonging, sharing, learning and exchange, calligraphy is the most commonly-practised of the visual arts in Afghanistan, and Kabul based Ali Baba Awrang has been creating calligraphic art for 20 years.

Sydney based Khadim Ali, a Hazara, originally from Afghanistan and whose works have been exhibited internationally, trained in miniature painting at the National College of Arts, Lahore, and draws on imagery from sources including the Bamiyan Buddhas.

Mammad Aidiani (Melbourne) has researched and published on Iranian diaspora, belonging, identity, and migration, and will respond to the artworks using freeform poetry in Persian script.

As there is an intrinsic connection between the poetic, calligraphy and carpet weaving, there are distinctive Persian carpets from private collections that will lend themselves to discussion about links with poetic and philosophical ideas.

We invite audiences to appreciate the elegant beauty of cultures which we usually see from the perspective of conflict, and to reflect on the fact so many people who come to Australia as refugees – sometimes as ‘boat people’ – are the inheritors of this poetic living culture.


Free public program events

Bookings essential: 03 9925 1717

07/06/2012 Weaving Words: the relationship between poetry and carpets in the Persian world Susan Scollay will speak of the beauty of Persian poetry and its vibrant tales of human and divine love and its relationship to carpets in the Persian world.

17/05/2012 Gabbeh film screening and talk A special film screening and talk about the Iranian movie Gabbeh, directed by influential Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf. There will be refreshments from the Afghan Tea Cart and a talk by Iranian playwright Dr Mammad Aidani about the film’s poetic importance as well as the significance of color in the movie.

10/05/2012 Only From the Heart Can you Touch the Sky Panel Discussion: This discussion invites audiences to appreciate the elegant beauty of cultures which we usually see from the perspective of conflict, and to reflect on the fact so many people who come to Australia as refugees – sometimes as ‘boat people’ – are the inheritors of this poetic living culture. Speakers will explore the intrinsic connection between the poetic (music and written), calligraphy and carpet weaving, and links with poetic and philosophical ideas.

12/04/2012 Artists' talk: Abdul Karim Hekmat and Khadim Ali Internationally recognised artists, Khadim Ali and Abdul Hekmat, from RMIT Gallery's exhibition Only From The Heart Can You Touch The Sky , will discuss the political nature of their work and the experience of being a refugee and a minority. How can art speak to social issues and change policy? What is the place of cultural memory in a country of conflict? Artist Ali Baba Awarng has been unable to get a visa out of Kabul in time for the talk, but his poetic, calligraphic work features in the exhibition and will be referenced by the other artists.


Sponsors

The Cross Art Projects