Sadegh Aleahmad

The Only Poem I Know To Hold in Blenheim Palace

The clip is extracted from the last 8 minutes of a 42-minute single take performance inside Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, on the 19th December 2015. It coincided intentionally with the exhibition of Lawrence Weiner, ‘Within A Realm Of Distance’.

The poem below was memorised on the journey and then hummed repeatedly during the performance.

We placed the silence of drowning bottles

Over your foreheads

so you’d be raised after death

in your backpacks.

I stilled and sat down

On my ears and heart

On that day

Between the Earth and the ceiling

This poem is an appropriation of the verses from the 37th Chapter of Quran (with an exception of the words Bottles and Backpacks). This chapter is called ‘AS-SAAFFAT’ or ‘Those Who Set the Ranks’.
It mainly addresses the lives of several prophets such as Moses, Noah, and Jonah who had to leave their home.

The work progressively investigates the status of the performer hovering between an artist, an immigrant, and an outsider throughout his journey in Blenheim palace. Using a mirror to capture the Churchill’s memoirs and the history of aristocracy.

“As a young Iranian artist living in the UK, the subversive examination of my position between the contemporary cultural space that exists between the West and the Middle East is an instrumental voice in my research to address and disarm the habitual notions of Islamic Identity.

My work questions the ideas of self as a site of conflict between an entity and its projected re-presentation, and explores underlying assumptions and clashes between artistic intensions and viewer’s perception. This is stimulated by the tension present between the presumed role of an active artist being mistakenly recognised for a terrorist.”