Barbara Walters Gallery Opening Reception for Artist Shahpour Pouyan


Tuesday, April 2, 2019
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm


The Barbara Walters Gallery at Sarah Lawrence College is pleased to present Monday Recollection of the Murqarnas Dome, a solo exhibition of works by Shahpour Pouyan. The exhibition will be on view from April 2-28.

Pouyan’s presentation 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 an 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 the mausoleum’s 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. 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 Western Asia.

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Event Location and Ticket Information

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Heimbold Visual Arts Center
917 Kimball Avenue, Sarah Lawrence College
Bronxville, New York 10708
Handicap Accessible? Yes

Date: Tuesday, April 2, 2019
Times: 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Ticket pricing:
Free event
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Presenter: Sarah Lawrence College
Presenter Phone: 9143952412
Presenter Website:

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