Sharif-pour’s installation invites audiences to engage with the poem “Bani Adam” (Persian: بنی آدم; meaning “Children of Adam”). Written by thirteen-century Iranian poet Saadi Shirazi, widely recognized as one of the greatest poets of the classic literary tradition. “Bani Adam” is renowned for the delicate way in which it calls for the breakdown of barriers between human beings.
Historically seen to conform with the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “Bani Adam” was famously quoted by former U.S. President Barack Obama in a videotaped message marking the Nowruz, the Persian New Year, on March 20 in 2009. Since 2005, it has also been displayed on a carpet in the United Nations building in New York.
In Sharif-pour’s installation, the poem is presented in its original Farsi with an English translation on the exterior of the Soho Lofts on the Las Vegas Boulevard. The words are striking against brightly illuminated backgrounds that transform in colour. Reflective of the colours of the rainbow, the array of colours representsthe universal struggles of humanity, as well as its brilliance. Nanda Sharif-pour comments, “Presenting the poem through a spectrum of light magnifies the importance of seeking wisdom from our history so that we may navigate our future. The light and the words serve as our guide.”
Curator Laura Henkel says, “Sharif-pour’s installation was originally inspired against the backdrop of the Trump administration, inclusive of, and not limited to, the bombing in Iran, the upheaval of families through immigration and welfare policies, as well as the angst regarding environmental affairs. Rather than creating an installation that dwells on these negativities, the artist desired to create an installation that would rise-above.The strength of ONE is that the installation remains relevant regardless of the day’s current events. It is a timeless projection of love and compassion for all.” > Read More