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The Resonance of Cultural Narratives: Keyvan Shovir at LH Horton Jr Gallery


Exploring Identity and Heritage in Art

The LH Horton Jr Gallery, in its recent exhibition "A Conversation on Race & Identity," held from February 22 to March 16, 2018, created a space where the interplay of cultural heritage, identity, and artistic expression converged. This thought-provoking exhibit featured a diverse array of artists who delved into their personal cultural backgrounds to challenge and reshape perceptions of various ethnic groups.

Keyvan Shovir's Impactful Presence

Among the standout artists was Keyvan Shovir, whose works encapsulated the complex interweaving of past and present, personal experience, and broader historical narratives. Shovir's participation in the exhibition was not just a display of his artistic prowess but a profound commentary on his journey as an Iranian-born artist now residing in the United States.

The Ascension: A Reflection on War and Memory

Shovir's "The Ascension" is a poignant installation featuring wooden airplanes. This piece is deeply rooted in his childhood experiences during the Iran-Iraq war. Shovir's narrative is compelling, as he recounts his memories and the subsequent discovery of the ties between those warplanes and the United States. This installation transcends mere artistic expression, offering a critical look at the interplay of technology, power, and propaganda.

Simorgh: A Metaphor for Spiritual Journey

His other installation, "Simorgh," draws inspiration from the Persian legend and Farid ud-Din Attar's 12th-century poem "Conference of the Birds." Shovir uses bird cages to represent the birds' search for Simorgh, a journey that ultimately leads to self-discovery. This installation is a beautiful metaphor for spiritual exploration and the quest for higher truth. By choosing to display only seven birdhouses, representing the countries affected by President Trump’s travel ban, Shovir connects his work to contemporary political realities, infusing it with a layer of poignant commentary.

The Intersection of Art, Culture, and Politics

Shovir’s works at the LH Horton Jr Gallery exhibition represent more than just art; they are a fusion of cultural narrative, political commentary, and personal history. His installations invite viewers to reflect on the impact of war, the search for identity, and the ongoing struggles of various ethnic groups in today's socio-political climate.

Conclusion: A Mirror to Society

Through his art, Keyvan Shovir not only tells his story but also holds up a mirror to society, urging a reexamination of our understanding of race, identity, and the power structures that shape our world. The "A Conversation on Race & Identity" exhibition, with Shovir's significant contributions, will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression on its visitors, encouraging deeper introspection and understanding of the complex tapestry of human experience.

The Simorgh piece was turned on with a poetic performance as a call for the spiritual journey .

read full interview here

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