Working with ideas of the celestial, home to planetary and spiritual configurations that have fascinated humanity since the beginning of time, the artist combines early 12th Century traditions of Persian cosmic philosophy with modern-day scientific imaging of the heavens. His explorations over the years, into the union of both spectrums, and a search for the portals into imagined futures, culminate in this mystical homage to Light.
In the Illuminationist cosmogony of the mystical philosopher Shahabuddin Suhrawardi, the Light of Lights, unlocated in Nowheresville, radiates the Universe into being, dispersed into Nine Spheres. Man, who lives on the Ninth Sphere (furthest from the Light), still gazes upon the stars. Some just see the sapphire sea of stars; others see the stars with an astrologer’s eye, but do not see the skies. There are a few though, who know that seeing is a journey, the first step shutting the eyes, and the destination is Nowheresville ‘nä-kōja,-abäd – the abode of Simurgh the benevolent, mythical flying creature, atop the cosmic mountain Qaf – untouched by time and space.
Inspired by this cosmogony, Ebtekar imagines this journey to / through Light, where every space – silent or clamorous, bright or opaque – can be used as a portal to Na-Koja Abad. Each opening hidden in clusters of symbolism gazes back at the audience, waiting to be discovered. Ebtekar invites the viewer to make the journey to the symbolic Qaf, and perhaps catch a fleeting glimpse of Nowheresville.