“Everyone has a dark side, I show this to others.”
Elyas Alavi is an emerging artist based in Adelaide, South Australia. He is primarily working in the form of Painting, Installation and Performance Art. Alavi was born in Daikundi province, Afghanistan, and moved to Iran as a child, following the intensification of war in his homeland and in late 2007 he moved to Australia as refugee at risk.
Alavi graduated from a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours) in 2012, specialising in painting, and is currently undertaking a Masters by Research (Visual Arts) at the University of South Australia and has exhibited in Australia and Afghanistan artspaces including Nexus Arts Gallery, CACSA Project Space, SASA Gallery IFA (Kabul) and Fontanelle Gallery.
Alavi also is best known as an internationally renowned poet. He published three poetry books in Iran and Afghanistan. first poetry book “I’m a daydreamer wolf” published in 2008 in Tehran, followed by “Some wounds” in 2012 in Kabul and “Hodood” in 2015 in Tehran.
He regularly runs art and poetry workshops in community centres and schools in Adelaide. He visits many issues in his works, but mainly memory, displacement, exile, social justice, gender issues, separation and the human nature.
Blog in Farsia: www.elyasalavi.blogfa.com
Q. Have you lived in South Australia for your whole life?
A. I lived in South Australia since 2008. I was born in Afghanistan and grow up in Iran.
Q. How has South Australia influenced your art?
A. I started as a professional artist in South Australia. I have graduated from a Masters by Research (Visual Arts) and a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours) in 2012, specialising in painting, at the University of South Australia.
Q. When did you know you wanted to be an Artist?
A. From early childhood
Q. How would you describe your art?
A. My work and research aspires to reveal ideas surrounding displacement, exile and memory and explore the effects of change and the passage of time on our memories, and the internal and affective images and connections that we are constructed from. Such experiences are conceptually interpreted within painting, installation and performance art.
Q. Where did you start your journey as a visual artist (formal education)?
A. I have graduated from a Masters by Research (Visual Arts) and a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours) in 2012, specialising in painting, at the University of South Australia.
Q. Who has influenced your style, during either formal education or in your personal experience?
A. I have inspired by artists such as Francis Bacon, Jackson Pollack, Mona Hatoum, Archil Gorky and Hossein Valamanesh.
Q. Which is more important to you, the symbolic meaning of your work or the visual presentation?
A. For me both of them.
Q. Do you have favourite pieces from your portfolio? Why?
A. A work titled “A journey with my grandmother to her home village”
Q. Do you enjoy collaborating with other artists?
A. Yes I do. I did work with other emerging artists including in projects such as Nurture and Concrete me which were shown at Nexus Gallery.
Q. What advice would you would give someone who aspires to a career in the visual arts?
A. Spent time in your studio every day, try to find your own voice.
2014 Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia- Project Space (CACSA)
2014 Public performance art, Mashad, Iran
2013 French Institute in Afghanistan (IFA gallery), Kabul, Afghanistan
2012 Seedling Art Space, Adelaide
2012 Nexus gallery, Nexus Arts, Adelaide
2010 Project Space, SASA Gallery, Adelaide
Selected Group Exhibitions
2015 Do It, Samstag gallery, Adelaide
2014 Nexus gallery, Adelaide
2014 Artillery, Amnesty International of Australia, Adelaide
2013 Nexus gallery, Adelaide
2012 Fontanelle Gallery, Adelaide
2012 Felt Space, Adelaide
Awards and grants in Visual arts
2015 Fontanelle Studio Residency, Helpman Academy
2014 Art, Architecture and Design Higher Degree Research National Travel Award, Uni SA
2013 Australian Postgraduate Award (Full Scholarship – Masters by Research)
2012 First Class Honours (Bachelor of Visual Arts, Honours degree)
2011 University Merit Award, (Bachelor of Visual Arts), University of SA
Awards in Poetry
2009 The Annual Reporters Poetry Prize, Tehran, Iran – First prize winner
2008 Young Poets’ Book of the Year, Tehran Iran, Second prize winner
2005-06 Qand-e Parsi Festival (Afghan Young Poets), first prize winner
2004-06 The Festival of Sharivar Nights, Tehran, Iran
2012 I’m a Day-dreamer wolf, Poetry book, 2007, Tehran, Iran
2011 Bazi Zakhmha (Some wounds), Drawing & poetry book, Kabul
2015 Hodood, Poetry and drawing book, Nimaj publisher, Tehran, Iran
2015 Art workshop for children age 4-12yrs old during school holidays, Kilburn Community Centre
2015 Art and poetry workshop, Adelaide Secondary School of English
2014 Artist in School project- Para Hills primary and William Light R-12, 20 weeks July-December, Project funded by Art SA, Nexus Arts, City Council and Department of education.
2013-current Layout designer, Dorr-e Dari Magazine, Afghanistan
2008-current Art designer, Khatt-e Sewwom magazine, Iran
2007-08 Ariana Persian School South Australia – Persian language teacher