SHIREEN TAWEEL
Sacred architecture and the celestial body
21 January – 11 February 2023

STATION | SYDNEY

Shireen Taweel’s practice reflects a diasporic landscape of cross-cultural discourse around the construction of cultural heritage, knowledge, identity, and language. Through sensorially immersive installations that draw on architecture, Islamic science and ritual, Taweel brings to light histories and cultural practices that have been buried beneath the weight of social political power structures. Taweel is best known for her intricately hand pierced and engraved sculptures, crafted from sheets of copper, which fuse conceptual and contemporary practice with an innovative application of traditional artisan coppersmith techniques.

Sacred architecture and the celestial body investigates the cultural significance of celestial navigation and astronomy, merging speculative astral architecture with historic celestial technologies. The exhibition has been informed by three months of research, development and drawing while on residency at the Sydney Observatory, where Taweel engaged with the Powerhouse Museum's instruments of celestial navigation and astronomy. Taweel was particularly drawn to the ‘astrolabe’, an ancient astronomical instrument used in Islamic and European cultures as both a scientific and spiritual navigational tool. In its simplest form the astrolabe is a metal circular object containing multiple rotating discs and rulers, and often decorated with inscriptions and patterns.

Joining current discourse on the cultural, political, and spiritual considerations for future migration into space, Taweel questions how celestial migration of the future will negotiate the construction and representation of the sacred, to satisfy the desire for a diversity of cultural landscapes and infrastructure in places newly inhabited by the celestial body.

Installation Views

Artworks

Shireen Taweel
sacred architecture and the celestial body 2023
hand pierced copper, silver, patina treatment, three part sculpture
semicircle: 24.2 x 48.3 x 5.0 cm; quarter: 24.2 x 33.5 x 5.0 cm; half-quarter: 24.2 x 18.5 x 5.0 cm

sacred architecture and the celestial body, Shireen Taweel

Shireen Taweel
sacred architecture and the celestial body
hand pierced copper, silver, patina treatment, three part sculpture
detail

Shireen Taweel
sacred architecture and the celestial body 2023
hand pierced copper, silver, patina treatment, three part sculpture
semicircle: 24.2 x 48.3 x 5.0 cm; quarter: 24.2 x 33.5 x 5.0 cm; half-quarter: 24.2 x 18.5 x 5.0 cm

Shireen Taweel
Astro architecture I
engraved copper plate, aquatint print
69.0 x 88.0 cm framed

Shireen Taweel
Astro architecture II
engraved copper plate, aquatint print
69.0 x 88.0 cm framed

Shireen Taweel
Astro architecture III
engraved copper plate, aquatint print
69.0 x 88.0 cm framed

Shireen Taweel
Astro architecture I
engraved copper plate, aquatint print
69.0 x 88.0 cm framed

Shireen Taweel
Astro architecture II
engraved copper plate, aquatint print
69.0 x 88.0 cm framed