Seven Valleys

Seven Valleys


Chandra Cerrito Contemporary is pleased to announce Seven Valleys, presented by Lauren Marie Taylor and Keyvan Shovir, the spring 2018 Peripheral Visions artists-in-residents, from March 17th to April 21st, 2018.

Seven Valleys, a residency and exhibition by Keyvan Shovir and Lauren Marie Taylor, opens March 17, 2018. Throughout the month, Shovir and Taylor will be building an installation in the gallery that will culminate with an opening on First Friday, April 6, from 5-8pm. Seven Valleys is part of Peripheral Visions, an artist/curator-in-residence program at Chandra Cerrito Contemporary in Oakland’s art and maker district. In this time of political, economic, and cultural polarization on a national and regional scale, art can prompt genuine communication, empathy, and insight required for a harmonious future. Artists and curators chosen for the Peripheral Visions residency enable collaboration and a sense of shared experience between people despite our perceived differences.

The Conference of the Birds is a masterpiece of Sufi poetry describing an inner journey to become one with god. Written in 1177, the poem tells the story of a community of birds who travel through seven valleys in order to reach transcendence and ultimately, death. While the birds undergo a metaphoric journey through seven stages, in the Catholic tradition, the faithful receive seven sacraments- a physical manifestation of the stages one must undergo to reach god, likewise ending in death. In this collaboration by Shovir and Taylor, a community of birds is represented by ships- jets, missiles, rockets and shuttles, traveling through seven stages in order to become one with the universe. In the gallery, the spacecrafts traverse Shia and Catholic communities represented by traditional architecture, both standing in for and referencing a history of war. The exhibition uses painting, sculpture, and video to tell the stories of Shia and Catholic communities and their experiences with colonization and imperialism.

The gallery will host an open house on Saturday, March 24, to introduce the artists and their project. The public is invited to stop by and see the work in progress. On First Friday, April 6th, the public is invited back to view the full installation and a silkscreen demonstration at which the artists will be giving away posters. On Saturday, April 7th from 2-4pm, Middle East scholars Kathy Zarur and Dena A Al Adeeb will host an event with Shovir and Taylor, focusing on the element of architecture within the exhibition, considering architecture as a metaphor and architecture as a form. Zarur and Al Adeeb will walk audiences through the architectural spaces represented, exploring architecture as forms of enclosure and exposure.

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