30 Birds, 2017


Iranian sculptor Zohreh Vahidifard creates on a grand scale. This massive bird, crafted of light steel, represents Simurgh, a mythical, all-knowing bird that is an iconic figure in Persian storytelling. 

One ancient tale recounts the story of a flock of birds tiring of the cruelty of hunters and the destruction of their habitat. The birds make a difficult journey to Mount Qhaf (a paradise) to meet King Simurgh. Many birds are lost or killed along the way. Only thirty birds complete the journey and find no king. Ultimately, they realize that as a group they themselves make up the leadership. 

The literal translation of the Persian phrase "si murgh" is "30 birds." Tehran-based Vahidifard specializes in contemporary takes on ancient stories and beings through sculpture and painting. Of the character depicted here, Vahidifard says, "Simurgh is nothing except the goodness in every human being."