Ara Dolatian – 'Al iksir ', 2023
This work delves into the cultural ecologies surrounding lost and stolen artefacts in the Al-Jazira region, commonly referred to as Mesopotamia, which lies between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. Through tangible and visual means, it serves as a vivid representation of sculptural deities, architectural forms, and vessels that have been lost to time. Rather than replicating the pieces, the intention is to draw inspiration from them. The resulting eccentric forms boast unique color schemes, pleasing curves, and delicate edges, inspired by archaeological figures and decayed architectural sites.
I seek to reinstate some of this lost history, while at the same time highlighting the fragmented nature of its archives. The work also pays homage to clay, the foundational material used and skillfully developed in ancient Mesopotamia.
A new introduction to my practice. Large prominent eyes, wings, long beards, and animalistic gestures combined with human forms create mythical beings and hybrid entities. This is a reflection upon deities that have evolved and morphed into new figures in the region, deities that were almost exclusively anthropomorphic. Ancient Mesopotamians believe that deities lived in Heaven, but the earthly statues were a physical embodiment of the gods.
Ara received a Bachelor of Fine Art (sculpture) from RMIT University (2012) and a Master in Social Science Environment and Planning (2014). His interdisciplinary practice explores the relationships between cultural landscapes and the natural ecosystem. It conflates a number of ideas around the themes of the studio and laboratory and in turn social and environmental politics. Ara has exhibited nationally and internationally and has been involved with many projects supported by the Australia Council for the Arts, Creative Victoria, and City of Melbourne. Ara is represented by James Makin Gallery in Victoria and Scott Lawrie Gallery in New Zealand.
May 6- June 24
Read about the exhibition.
Jugs is part of Melbourne Design Week 2023, an initiative of the Victorian Government in collaboration with the NGV.
Material: earthenware, glaze, oxide
Dimensions: approx. 37 x 30 x 15.5cm