Art And Culture

Rumi-Inspired Sculptures Explore Inherent Human Spirituality

Rumi-Inspired Sculptures Explore Inherent Human SpiritualityRumi-Inspired Sculptures Explore Inherent Human Spirituality

Through his physical interpretations of the poetry and musings of Rumi, a 13th century Persian theologian and Islamic scholar known for his revelations of love and the human experience,  Majid Sheikh Akbari intends to redeliver the message that Rumi once sought to share with the world.

A former civil engineer who shifted his focus to art and architecture when his work no longer met his spiritual needs, Akbari now creates sculptures out of wood, steel, copper, and nuts and bolts - scrap materials and byproducts that he says ‘reduce the ecological footprint of his work while protecting the integrity of his intended design’ - that speak to the themes of spirituality, environment, and life, all central ideas in many of Rumi’s poems, says an article by Amanda Siebert.

“All my pieces are inspired by Rumi’s poems. Sometimes I make many pieces from one poem, other times I convert two or three poems, and sometimes I make sculptures without thinking, but it’s all about the same thing,” said Akbari earlier in an interview at the Blank Tank Gallery in Vancouver, Canada, where his latest exhibition, ‘Because We are Human’, is on display.

While much of his past works are made out of metal, Akbari’s latest collection is made entirely out of wood for a number of reasons. For him, the medium is not the message, reports

“When I came here from Iran, I didn’t have a shop and I needed to start something that I could work on in my apartment. I changed the materials because it’s easier to work with,” he said. “I’m getting old and I think it’s better because steel work is very heavy.”

A firm believer that his sculptures need to have a message, Akbari’s central focus is aligned with that of Rumi’s: love.

“Rumi believed that at the end of everything is love. I think love is the response to the state of the world. Everything in this world is bad; we see war and killing, but love is the opposite of these situations.”


Akbari’s prominent cedar sculptures use a combination of smooth ascending curves and jagged lines to draw the eye into something deeper. (Many of his pieces contain hidden words in Farsi.) As one walks through the space, rope and spruce ladders lead to the gallery’s back room, where they ascend together towards the ceiling. The ladder, says Akbari, is a symbol that tells of human race’s interconnectedness. “We are all going to the same place,” he says.

 His favorite piece, titled Sama Dance, is the interpretation of a poem that tells of a dance that celebrates the human spirit.

“I use lines and curves to show the shape of the dancers, and within it is the word ‘love’ in Farsi. It’s not obvious; you have to search to find it.”

The exhibition was on display at the Blank Tank Gallery till Tuesday.