INTRA Project: “Valleys of the Simorgh. A transhistorical Quest for Equality and Democracy”

Ali Kazim “Conference of the Birds”

Bird Talk #8

In many different forms, the artist Ali Kazim recreates the journey of those birds who set off in search of the Simorgh in Attar’s Conference of the Birds and find themselves and their faith in their quest. Guided by the idea that the spiritual encounter ultimately enables a discovery of beauty and the divine, Kazim reactivates Attar’s 800-year-old tale in his multimedia artworks. Whether it is the 3000 bird sculptures made of clay and dried in the sun, which disintegrate when it rains, as he showed in an installation at the Lahore Biennale 2020, or the detailed bird drawings that unite to form a collective led by a hoopoe, Kazim creates new contexts and allows viewers to immerse themselves in these birds’ world. At the same time, he also allows us to participate in the lessons that the past holds for the present.

For the exhibition Valleys of the Simorgh, which will be on display rom 27 June to 20 July 2024 at the Kunstraum hinterland, he will create a textile work together with Maheen Kazim that will provide a new angle on the Conference of the Birds.

Beforehand, however, on 24 April, he will tell us about his personal connection to Attar’s tale in an evening lecture and explain how it became a source of inspiration for him, as it gives shape to the „perpetual and collective human desire for ultimate spiritual unity“

Ali Kazim (* 1979 in Pakistan) Currently he lives and works in Lahore, Pakistan. He also works as assistant professor at the National College of Arts, Lahore. He received his BFA degree from the National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan in 2002 and an MFA from the Slade School of Fine Art, London, UK, in 2011. His work exhibited widely in solo and group shows internationally.

He has received a number of awards and artist residencies including; artist in residence at Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; inaugural Karachi Biennale jury prize; Finalists for the Catlin Prize, UK; The Art House Residency, Wakefield, UK; The Land Securities Studio Award, London, UK; Melvill Nettleship Prize for Figure Composition, UCL, London; Art OMI artist residency, New York, USA; Young Painter Award, Lahore Arts Council, Pakistan; ROSL Travel Scholarship: Residency at Hospital Field, Scotland, UK; Vasl Residency (Triangle Arts Trust), Karachi, Pakistan; International Artist Camp, George Kyet Foundation, Sri Lanka. His work is in the collection of the Tate, UK; British Museum UK; Victoria and Albert Museum UK; Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; Metropolitan Museum NYC; Asia Pacific Museum, USA; Rose Art museum, USA; Queensland Art Gallery Australia; Qatar Museums, Qatar; Burger Collection Hong Kong; Creative Cities Collection, Beijing; Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi, India; Devi Art Foundation, Delhi, India; Samdani Foundation, Dhaka; Durjoy Foundation, Dhaka ; Kemal Lazar Foundation, Tunisia, Islamabad Airport, Pakistan.

Department of Art History, University of Applied Arts Vienna

Kunstraum hinterland




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