top of page

"Seven Valleys": Navigating Art, Culture, and Faith through the Lens of Keyvan Shovir and Lauren Marie Taylor



In a world marked by political, financial, and social divisions, artists possess a unique ability to inspire genuine communication, empathy, and understanding. Their work can foster collaboration and a shared sense of knowledge, transcending the apparent differences that often divide us. The "Seven Valleys" exhibition, featuring Artists-In-Residence Lauren Marie Taylor and Keyvan Shovir, provides a compelling platform for exploring the intersections of art, history, and spirituality amid the challenges posed by the Bay Area's evolving artistic landscape.

About the Artists:

Keyvan Shovir, an interdisciplinary artist based in San Francisco, brings a rich tapestry of experiences to his work. Born in Tehran, Iran, in 1985, Shovir has exhibited extensively across the globe, focusing on social issues and Persian calligraphy. His installations and public art delve into history, Persian myth, language, and contemporary pop culture. A 2018 MFA graduate from the California College of the Arts, Shovir is recognized for his pioneering role in Tehran's street art scene.

Lauren Marie Taylor, a Bay Area artist and educator, brings her diverse background to the collaboration. With residencies at the Arecibo Observatory and the Vatican Observatory, Taylor's work spans the realms of science, art, and education. Her projects at institutions like the California Academy of Sciences and the Walt Disney Family Museum showcase her interdisciplinary approach. Taylor holds a BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, an MEd from Portland State, and an MFA from the California College of the Arts.

The Inspiration: "The Conference of the Birds"

At the heart of "Seven Valleys" lies the inspiration drawn from "The Conference of the Birds," a masterpiece of Sufi poetry penned in 1177. This poetic journey narrates the quest of a community of birds traversing seven valleys to attain transcendence and, ultimately, death. Shovir and Taylor reinterpret this allegory, representing a community of birds through ships—jets, missiles, rockets, and shuttles, moving through seven stages to unite with the universe.

The Exhibition Narrative:

Within the gallery, viewers encounter a captivating narrative where spacecrafts symbolizing the community of birds navigate through Shia and Catholic communities, depicted through traditional architecture. These structures serve as both symbols and references to a history marked by war, colonization, and imperialism. Through painting, sculpture, and video, Shovir and Taylor weave a tale of the experiences of Shia and Catholic communities, offering a nuanced exploration of their interactions with colonization and imperialism.

Mission of Peripheral Visions:

"Seven Valleys" is presented under the umbrella of Peripheral Visions, an artist- and curator-in-residence program at Chandra Cerrito Contemporary, located in Oakland's primary art and maker district. The mission of Peripheral Visions is to provide a platform for artists and curators from diverse backgrounds to present projects that create bridges and encourage connections among diverse groups or broaden perspectives on art and the human experience.


"Seven Valleys" stands as a testament to the power of art in transcending boundaries and fostering understanding. Through the collaborative efforts of Keyvan Shovir and Lauren Marie Taylor, the exhibition invites viewers to contemplate the shared threads of history, spirituality, and human experience that bind us together, even in the face of societal challenges. As the Bay Area's artistic landscape evolves, "Seven Valleys" serves as a poignant reminder of the role art plays in shaping our collective narrative and fostering a sense of unity amidst diversity.

Recent Posts
bottom of page