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Lilacs Out Of The Dead Land

7 Jun 2024 – 18 Jun 2024

Regular hours

16:00 – 21:00

Free admission

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Marking the launch of Donya Gallery, Lilacs Out of the Dead Land showcases works by Abi Joy Samuel, Afshin Naghouni, Mia Wilkinson, Rebecca Gilpin, Robert Fry and Shadi Rezaei.

Curated by Vittoria Beltrame


The title of the show is a line taken from the poem ‘The Waste Land’ by T.S Eliot, which the exhibition has been inspired by. This poem was written in 1922 and is considered one of the most influential pieces of writing of the 20th Century. At a first glance, the poem is structurally broken, with reference and allusions from authors such as Shakespeare, Dante, or Petrarca — creating a seemingly senseless piece of literature that exactly for this reason has become incredibly important. Juxtapositions, citations, and different languages used, shape the entirety of the piece making it rather confusing and intricate to read — while highlighting some of the greatest authors of the past and beautifully mixing them into a modern poem. References of geographical areas are also present, with similes and contrasts between Western and Eastern cultures - contrasts of this nature are also highlighted by a frequent use of oxymorons.

The Waste Land was written at the end of WWI, when, with the war terminated not from long, uncertainty was still prominent with the population having to rebuild their cities, and their lives, from pieces. Yet, the ending of the poem “I sat upon the shore / Fishing, with the arid plain behind me / Shall I at least set my land in order?” (Eliot, 423) makes a strong reference to the power to rebuild, which lies only within oneself and one’s own will — leaving a sense of light at the end of the tunnel, that despite the common unsettlement and alienation resulting from strenuous times, still allows for hope. It is also believed and commented by scholars that The Waste Land has inspired art movements such as Futurism and Cubism, with characteristics such as the assemblage of objects and subjects into uncanny, inconsistent forms and shapes and the addition of details referencing disparate events and subjects into a work of art.

The artists included in this exhibition all take inspiration from their own life stories, each work resulting in a semi-autobiographical piece. Whether more highly inspired from their place of birth, childhood stories, feelings of loss, love, or the use of language or disparate art movements - their work is a puzzle and collage of broken pieces of fragmented stories, which put together and translated onto canvas, result in beautiful artworks.


Vittoria Beltrame

Exhibiting artistsToggle

Abi Joy Samuel

Shadi Rezaei

Rebecca Gilpin

Afshin Naghouni

Mia Wilkinson

Robert Fry


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