My collage, "The Conference of the Birds," threads Farid ud-Din Attar's timeless allegory into the historical grandeur of the Alhambra. And in this imagined world, the Conference of the Birds happens one day each year — offering humans a chance to speak with the Simorgh about life, love, and the universe.
The Alhambra, with its intricate carvings and rich history, is more than just a backdrop. It's a testament to the cultural crossroads of mediaeval Spain, a melting pot of philosophies and ideologies. The spiritual journey of Attar's birds harmonises with the Alhambra's historical resonance as a place of great power, spirituality and cross-cultural exchange. Blending the esoteric Sufi text with the geometric mastery of the Alhambra to create a fusion of past and present that speaks to the eternal desire for understanding and enlightenment.
I read the Conference of the Birds many years ago, when I took a religious studies class at college. The Conference of the Birds was on our reading list for the week we studied Islam. A masterpiece of Persian literature by Sufi poet Farid ud-Din Attar. In the poem, the birds seek guidance, but have none. And we come to see how each of the birds represent a flaw that prevents humankind from attaining enlightenment. I'm not a religious or spiritual man. I find faith in hope, fairness, kindness & the mind-blowing wonder of no one reeeeeeeally knowing what's going on in this topsy-turvy place we all call home. But a good story—be it religious or not—never fails to move me. The best stories shift my focus so much that I never see our world the same way again. And the Conference of the Birds is on my list of life-changers.