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Navid Sinaki: The Infinite Garden

October 5, 2023 - June 23, 2024
Honolulu Museum of Art, Arts of the Islamic World Gallery

Navid Sinaki

A video artist and author, Navid Sinaki, is crafting a unique and original story at Shangri La.

Inspired by the mythological works of Persian poets Ferdowsi (940–c.1025) and Nizami Ganjavi (1141–1209), artist Navid Sinaki has created The Infinite Garden, a queer epic about a king who builds a garden for each of his three lovers; one of flowers, one of fruit, and another of glass. Each lover regales the king with tales of shrinking princes, supernatural trickery, and paramours who never quite meet until death.

Over centuries, Persian epics inspired countless painted manuscripts. To visualize his imagined epic poem, never completely written down, Sinaki has looked to digitized manuscripts as well as the more recent visual language of the early internet, GIF animations, and VHS cassette packaging.

The Infinite Garden’s short films and faux ephemera draw from the figures and iconography of 18th- and 19th-century Persian paintings, tilework, and manuscripts from the collection of the Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design. Four Zand and Qajar period paintings from its collection are also included in this gallery. Rarely seen due to their fragile nature, these objects are made accessible by Sinaki as he nests stories within stories to conjure a space for queerness in Persian mythology.

This exhibition will be on-view at the Honolulu Museum of Art, Arts of the Islamic World Gallery

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