Signs Of The TimesZikr #21
Zikr #35Homeless #5
Homeless #7

Seyed Alavi

Oakland, CA

Artistic Disciplines:
Visual Art

Artist Statement:


"Signs of the Times" was created for traffic utility boxes at various intersections and cross roads throughout the City of Emeryville. This project utilizes the pedestrian stick figure in order to present a series of poetic vignettes. Each artwork asks to be read as a sign, which encourages one to reflect on some of the issues surrounding the nature of our lives as human beings. This project was first initiated in 2005 and began with a design collaboration involving students from Emeryville High School over a period of two months. There are a total of 25 boxes with the last two completed in the Fall of 2009. 


"Zikr" is a series of digital prints on rice paper measuring 19” x 27”. Each of these works is composed of the text from a single line of poetry in a Persian calligraphic style that is repeated as lines to create the drawings. The poems are by various Persian poets; pieces by Ghazali and Bakhezri are utilized in Zikr 21 and 35. 


In these drawings, the repetition of a single line of poetry, over and over, makes reference to the common meditative practice of chanting. In Sufism, this type of chanting is referred to as Zikr; and often involves the recitation of poetry. Zikr literally means remembrance, or to remember. The objective of Zikr is for the person chanting, to re-member and re-cognize their connection with the fundamental unity of existence. 



"Homeless" is a body of work that explores the notion of home and a sense of belonging. These oil paintings are created on pieces of cardboard and measure approximately 5’ x 6’. 


On one level these pieces examine the immigrant experience. An immigrant can be defined as one who is of another place; one whose home/ place of comfort is somewhere else other than the current space, situation or circumstance. The figures in these paintings are stripped bare of everything; without clothes and place; they are raw/ naked beings without any attachments; beings neither here nor there.  Their postures suggest introspection and detachment from the outside world, and their separation is completed, by having their faces turned away from the viewer. 


These pieces also seek to utilize the immigrant’s feeling of homelessness as an analogy to explore concepts relating to metaphysical questions of who/ what is a being. Perhaps in a sense we are all immigrants, strangers in a strange land. 











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