Shattered, 2023

Past Exhibition

Within the contemplative context of the Museum of Islamic Art's Damascus Room, a captivating installation unfolds — a collection of exquisitely formed glass birds created by Turkish artist Feleksan Onar.

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In this thought-provoking installation, Turkish artist Feleksan Onar’s artistic lens zooms in on the tragedies behind the recent earthquakes that devastated Southeast Turkey and Northern Syria, which resulted in over 55,000 casualties. Onar’s work deals with human displacement, and her creative journey explores the profound impact that political unrest, war and natural disasters have on people.

Onar uses birds as her preferred language, and glass as her ideal medium. Birds serve as symbols of both fragility and strength, and often undergo a similar process of repair and restoration following the effects of natural disasters. Her mold-blown birds mimic a traditional Japanese technique typically used for repairing ceramics. Known as Kintsugi, the technique joins fragments with gold, leaving the cracks visible. Onar associates these cracks with the damage caused by the disaster but, in doing so, emphasises the beauty that arises from transformation and change. Onar uses her glass birds as a contemporary commentary on politics, society and history.

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Mold blown glass, hand-carved, and gold painted. Photo: Kerem Sanlıman

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A captivating installation showcased within the Damascus Room, found in gallery 12 at MIA. Photo © Museum of Islamic Art, Doha

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Birds' installation as displayed in the Damascus Room, found in gallery 12 at MIA. Photo © Museum of Islamic Art, Doha

About the Artist

Feleksan Onar was born in 1966 and raised in Turkey. She works between Istanbul, Berlin, Venice and New York. Her work has been exhibited at the Pergamon Museum, Berlin; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and the Dresden State Art Collections, Dresden.

Plan your Visit

On view as part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Islamic Art, the Damascus Room is located in Gallery 12, which celebrates the arts of Ottoman provinces. Plan your trip now to learn more about MIA’s exciting collection.