The Conference of the Birds Inspires Boldness and Beauty

As you may already know, Undermain will be performing the latest installment of its reading series with The Conference of the Birds at the DMA this weekend. The fanciful yet philosophical play was adapted by Jean-Claude Carriere and Peter Brook from a 12th century Sufi poem by Farid Uddi Attar.

Given the story’s ancient roots and continuous popularity, it’s no surprise that it has been the inspiration for many artists, both theatrical and visual. I got a bit curious about visual interpretations of The Conference of the Birds after stumbling upon some really stunning works of art, so I decided to poke around a bit more. Here’s what I found:

1493 Manuscript 21493 Manuscript

These images come from a manuscript of the poem dated 1493. The manuscript currently resides in the Bodleian Library at Oxford.

Below are a few illustrations from Peter Sis’ 2011 adaptation of Attar’s epic poem:

conference2Peter Sis 2

This acrylic and ink painting was done by New York artist, Shawn Cheng:

Shawn Cheng

This artwork may look ancient, but it’s by London-born contemporary artist, Graham Day. These pieces are taken from his series titled Conference of the Birds: 

Graham Day 2Graham Day 1Graham Day 3

Finally, this clearly contemporary piece is by New York and San Francisco Based artist, Deborah Yoon. What’s it called? You guessed it…Conference of the Birds. 

Deborah Yoon

[Colleen Ahern]