A watercolour of a peacock can be seen, with "Katia Kameli" and "The Canticle of the Birds" written in print in front of it. The exhibition will start in September 2023 at the ifa Gallery Stuttgart.
Katia Kameli, Peacock, from the series "The Canticle of the Birds", Watercolour, 2023, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2023

Katia Kameli – The Canticle of the Birds

8 Sep 2023
29 Oct 2023
ifa Gallery Stuttgart
Charlottenplatz 17
70173 Stuttgart

Artist: Katia Kameli
Curated by Valérie Chartrain

The exhibition takes its inspiration from the "Conference of the Birds" by the twelfth century Persian Sufi poet Farîd-ud-Dîn Attâr. In his epic poem, we follow thousands of birds on their journey in search of the mythical bird Simurgh, an allegory for the divine. After travelling through seven valleys, only thirty birds reach their destination and ultimately realize that Simurgh is their own reflection. The poet seems to suggest that every journey is a path of self-discovery.

For the exhibition "The Canticle of the Birds", the birds from the allegorical poem are shaped out of ceramics, an ancient material present in many cultures, making symbolic reference to the origin of life. The sculptures also double as musical instruments, akin to ocarinas, and can be played as flutes; they can be heard in the new film by Katia Kameli, Le Cantique des oiseaux: The film brings together dancers at the garden of Rayol on the French Mediterranean coast, each representing a different bird species. Each bird and thus each dancer follows a distinct choreography and produces a unique sound. The film is also an adventure in translation. Far from being a simple transposition from one language to another, translation serves here as a permeable mechanism that blends traditions, histories, and cultures. These stories all seem to be versions of a single original, hybrid story with plural and porous influences. In this work, Katia Kameli also offers her own translation of the story by adapting its elements into various forms and adding new dimensions of music, dance, and geography. She shows us how these birds’ search for a better future doubles as a metaphor for life: they have traveled together as a group and reunite at the end of the journey. This reunion can be understood as a step forward, a utopia that shows what is possible together.

The exhibition combines Katia Kameli’s ceramic sculptures, watercolors, silk paintings, her sketches, and the film into one poetic whole. Kameli invites visitors on an inner journey imbued with spirituality and beauty, a reflection on our own quests and identities.

Th exhibition was featured at the ifa Gallery Berlin from 13. May until 13. August 2023.


07. September, Opening

Thursday, 07.09. from 19:00 – 21:00

Welcoming Speech: Bettina Korintenberg, Director of the ifa Galleries

The artist Katia Kameli and the curator Valérie Chartrain will be present.

To the event

08. September, Conversation with the artist and curator

Friday, 08.09. from 19:00 – 20:00

The artist Katia Kameli and the curator Valérie Chartrain will discuss the concept and give insights into the exhibition. In English.

To the event

24. September, Family Art Sunday

Sunday, 24.09. from 10:30 – 12:30

For children from the age of four. Inspired by the animal sculptures in the exhibition, we model our own paradisiacal bird families. With modeling clay and natural materials, there are no limits to our imagination! No previous experience necessary.

Please register with Stefanie Alber by 21.09. at ifa-galerie-stuttgart(at)ifa.de

To the event

27. September, Movement Workshop

Wednesday, 27.09. from 17:00 – 19:00

Wednesday, 18.10. from 17:30 – 19:00

After an encounter with the sounding ceramics and works of the exhibition, the dance teachers and body researchers Davorin Strauss and Johanna Fricke offer an introduction to the world of movement. No previous experience is necessary, comfortable clothes are recommended.

Please register with Valerie Hammerbacher at ifa-galerie-stuttgart(at)ifa.de

To the event

28. September, Art talk and guided tour

Thursday, 28.09. from 16:30 – 17:30

Art talk and guided tour through the exhibition. Followed by an aperitif at the gallery.

For visually impaired and blind people special guided tours on request. Please register with Stefanie Alber at ifa-galerie-stuttgart(at)ifa.de

Additional dates: 12.10, 20.10. and 27.10.

To the event

30. September, Talk "How to Translate the Untranslatable?"

Saturday, 30.09. from 16:00 – 17:30

Hosted by Leili Anvar and Valérie Chartrain, in English

The Iranian-French translator Leili Anvar researches Persian spiritual literature, including the lives and works of the poet Djalâl ad-Dîn Rûmî and the Kurdish-Persian poet Malek Jân Ne’mati. In her talk, she will discuss the possibilities and impossibilities of literary translation in relation to other translators and, in particular, the text "The Conference of the Birds".

To the event

07. October, Guided tour with the artist and concert

Saturday, 07.10. from 18:30 – 19:00

Guided tour with the artist, followed by a concert and musical activation.

Flutists Carolin Daub, Sumin Yu and Emily Malchin activate the exhibition's musical ceramics.

To the event

Opening Hours – ifa Gallery Stuttgart

Tuesday – Sunday: 12.00 – 18.00
Closed on Mondays and holidays.

Free admission


ifa Galleries

The ifa Galleries show the visual arts, architecture and design of a globalized world. They have been addressing contemporary art and current cultural and socio-political developments in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe since 1971 in Stuttgart and since 1991 in Berlin. Exhibition series afford insight into art scenes all over the world and reach across national borders. Conversations, lectures and discussions allow visitors direct contact with artists and curators.

ifa Gallery Berlin

ifa Gallery Stuttgart


ifa Gallery Stuttgart

Charlottenplatz 17
D-70173 Stuttgart

Telephone: +49.711.2225.173