Memory Drawings, 2015 - 2016

Hong Kong 2016
Lawrie Shabibi
Mixed Media
Mixed media on paper
31.0 x 23.0 (cm)
12.2 x 9.1 (inch)
Pouyan’s presentation on the other hand symbiotically explores ideas of human preservation and perception of images. Pouyan was fascinated by the extraordinary shape of the tomb of the 11th century Muqarnas dome of Sharaf ad-Dawla, a Shi’ite mausoleum near Mosul, Iraq recently destroyed by ISIS, with a structure that resembles a colossal Cubist sculpture, yet predates European modernism by almost a thousand years. Murqarnas- geometric ornamental motifs suspended from the interiors of domes and underside of corniches- have become ubiquitous throughout Islamic architecture resulting from the precise geometric subdivision of squinches With a flamboyant exterior that mirrored the extravagantly vaulted interior, the Murqarnas dome was almost unique to Iraq, which now has four or fewer surviving examples. Most were destroyed during the 13th century Mongol invasion, the remainder currently being targeted by the present occupier. Prior to its destruction in October 2014 Pouyan had kept an image of it pinned to his studio wall, hoping that he would one day visit it. Devastated by the news of its destruction and the realization that he would never see a monument of this type, he devised a way to preserve the image. Each week he would make a drawing of the tomb from memory, emphasizing the details of the Muqarnas structure, form and ornamentation, with no recourse to the original image or his previous drawings. As his memories developed the drawings became a personal documentation of the human mind’s inability to accurately document. Presented alongside the drawings will be ceramic sculptures of the dome and its Muqarnas, using techniques that closely follow those of 11th century ceramic production. Pouyan’s allusion to the practices of oral history, the drawings of ancient explorers, and the processes by which an experience changes and evolves over time and space in our minds closely corresponds to the cross-fertilisation of ideas and images across borders and cultures that has been prevalent to the Islamic world and Western Asia.