Only From The Heart Can You Touch The Sky

This exhibition features paintings by Hazara artists Khadim Ali (Australia-Afghanistan) and Ali Baba Awrang (Afghanistan), calligraphy by Iranian poet and playwright Mammad Aidani, and Persian rugs.

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.

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.



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