Press Release

The artwork The Canticle of the Birds by Katia Kameli draws inspiration from the eponymous poem by Farîd od-dîn ‘Attâr, a classical Sufi poet who lived in twelfth-century Iran. The poem follows thousands of birds on their journey of initiation in search of the mythical bird Sîmorgh, an allegory for the divine.

This quest, passing through seven stages represented by seven valleys, is in fact is a personal journey to understanding oneself and the world. Only thirty birds complete the journey, which leads them merely to their own reflection. Every journey is a quest to find ourselves, the poet seems to imply.



International exhibitions

International Archives 1st half of 2023

Katia Kameli, The Canticle of the Birds

Ifa-Galerie, Berlin (Germany)

13.05 - 30.07.2023




For this exhibition, Katia Kameli chose ten birds out of the multitude presented in the poem, attributing specific symbolic traits to each species. The birds are led by the hoopoe, which represents wisdom.

The birds in this exhibition are shaped out of ceramics, an ancient material present in many cultures, making symbolic reference to the origin of life. The sculptures also double as musical instruments, akin to ocarinas, which are played in the film presented in the exhibition.

The film, in its world premiere, brings together dancers at the Rayol Garden on the Mediterranean coast of the South of France, associating each dancer with a bird. Each bird, and thus each dancer, has distinct choreography and a distinct sound. The dancers have been co-directed with Youness Anzane to a musical composition by Aurélie Sfez.

The artwork is also an adventure in translation. Far from being a simple transposition from one language to another, translation serves here as a permeable mechanism that blends traditions, histories, and cultures. These stories all seem to be versions of a single original, hybrid story with plural and porous influences. In this work, Katia Kameli also offers her own translation of the story by adapting its elements into various forms and adding new dimensions of music, dance, and geography.

At ifa Gallery Berlin,  Katia Kameli’s ceramic sculptures, watercolors, silk paintings and film will form a poetic work that invites visitors on an inner journey imbued with spirituality and beauty, a reflection on our own quests and identities.

Curated by Valerie Chartrain.

Katia Kameli lives in Paris and has been creating a full and multifaceted body of work since the early 2000s. With her dual French and Algerian culture, she crosses boundaries between territories and interrogates the blind spots of history. She connects far-flung facts, ties loose links, and gives voice to silenced words to write counter-narratives. Her research fuses and interlaces to integrate manifold perspectives. Nominated Aware prize 2022 and arwarded by Mondes Nouveaux program.

Valerie Cartrain lives in Paris and Berlin. Since 2002, Valerie Chartrain has been developing curatorial and discursive events both on her own and collectively. She works with artists, galleries, and other institutions on the production of texts, exhibitions, catalogues and events. She is the co-editor-in-chief and co-founder of Petunia, a feminist and intersectional magazine on art and culture since 2009. Furthermore, she is creative strategist and conceptualizes, realizes and directs projects that help organizations to envision their futures.

Exhibition 13 May - 30 July 2023. ifa-Galerie Berlin, Linienstraße 139/140 - 10115 Berlin (Germany). T +49 30 28449110. Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 2–6pm, Thursday 2–8pm.






Katia Kameli, The Canticle of the Birds (still), 2022. Variation. UHD-Film, 25 minutes. © Katia Kameli, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2023.  

Katia Kameli, The Canticle of the Birds (still), 2022. Variation. UHD-Film, 25 minutes. © Katia Kameli, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2023.   Katia Kameli, The Canticle of the Birds, ifa-Galerie, Berlin, Germany

© ArtCatalyse International / Marika Prévosto 2023. All Rights Reserved