Shezad Dawood: The Jewels of Aptor

10 October - 13 November 2010

'The waves flung up against the purple glow

of double sleeplessness. Along the piers

the ships return; but sailing I would go

through double rings of fire, double fears.

So therefore let your bright vaults heave the night

about with ropes of wind and points of light

and say, as all the rolling stars go, ‘I

have stood my feet on rock and seen the sky.’

The opening lines of the epic: Of the conflicts between Leptar and Aptor, by the one-armed poet Geo


‘Though you have struggled, wandered, travelled far,

It is yourselves you see and what you are.’

(Who sees the Lord? It is himself each sees;

What ant’s sight could discern the Pleiades?

What anvil could be lifted by an ant?

Or could a fly subdue an elephant?)

‘How much you thought you knew and saw; but you

Now know that all you trusted was untrue.’

Farid Ud-Din Attar, The Conference of the Birds




This exhibition describes flight paths and suggests arcs of movement through realms of esoteric wisdom.

The Jewels of Aptor is Shezad Dawood’s second solo show at Paradise Row. It continues Dawood’s ongoing practice of both revealing and creating moments of synthesis and unexpected harmony between seemingly disparate, bodies of knowledge, cultural traditions and value systems.


The show comprises of a careful variety of esoteric symbols printed and painted onto vintage textiles and a series of sculptures, suspended in mid-air, of strange and seductive exotic birds flying through rings of coloured neon.