Shahpour Pouyan at the first Islamic Arts Biennale

My Place is the Placeless | 23 January — 23 April 2023

We are pleased to announce Shahpour Pouyan's participation in the first Islamic Arts Biennale in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The works presented are the latest development of a series in which Shahpour Pouyan (b. 1979, Isfahan, Iran) pursues an ongoing interest in documenting his origins and challenging rigid perceptions of ethnic labels and identities. In 2014 he took a DNA test, which revealed that his genetic ties extend far beyond his native Iran to include Scandinavia, Central and South Asia, and the Middle East. Architecture is an important element in the artist's visual vocabulary, and in the first phase of the project he made 33 small ceramic domes, representing historic buildings from all the different countries in the test result. For this new work he has selected three of the domes, based on the three majority traces in his DNA, and scaled them up.


Through this project Pouyan personally engages with the reality of human interconnectedness. With a title borrowed from the opening line of a poem by the renowned medieval Persian poet Rumi, My Place Is the Placeless elegantly investigates notions of nationality, personal history, and Belonging.


The Islamic Arts Biennale is curated by Sumayya Vally, Dr. Julian Raby, Dr. Saad Al-Rashid, and Dr. Omniya Abdel Barr and is on view at the  Western Hajj Terminal, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, through 23rd April 2023.

January 17, 2023