Event Details

“For me it has always been a city of ruins and of end-of-empire melancholy. I’ve spent my life either battling with this melancholy or (like all Istanbulus) making it my own.”

-Orhan Pamuk, Istanbul: Memories and the City

I will build a boat

I will keep sailing

I will keep sailing

Beyond the seas there IS a town

Where windows are open to epiphanies

The rooftops are inhabited by pigeons

Gazing at the fountains of Human Intelligence

Every ten-year-old child holds a bough of knowledge

The townsfolk see in a brick row a flame,

Or a delicate dream;

Dust can hear the music of your feelings

The fluttering wings of mythical birds are audible in the wind

Beyond the seas there is a town

Where the Sun is as wide-open as the eyes of early-risers

Poets are the inheritors of water, wisdom, and light

Beyond the seas there is a town,

So one should build a boat.

-Sohrab Sepehri

“A destruction, an annihilation that only man can provoke, only man can prevent.”

-Elie Wiesel

You walk down alleyways and dead-ends. You circle the squares and roundabouts of your memory. You recognize the feel of the summer heat on your skin. That is yours for ever. Passing by an open window, you know the smell of the mid day meal cooking on a stove. You are sure the fried onions would have a sweet taste on your tongue if you were called in to share the repast. You should be in sync with the city’s pulse, this beating heart that you sense against the soul of your shoes.

And yet.

And yet you see it cracking, crumbling, crashing. For years now, for a long time. It is soundless, slow, steady. You are walking down narrow lanes, tree lined avenues and around street corners, all renamed reshaped. Where there was a door there is gaping hole. Where there were windows, blind darkness within an empty frame. A three legged chair abandoned to its fate, a stuffed bear for the alley cats. Cities no longer in control of their past or their destiny, abandoned to the pillage of the greedy, of the small limited minds.

You walk down narrow lanes and pass by filigreed garden gates. You look for stories, memories contained within the walled ruins that were home to all that. And so much more than that. The heart and soul of the city.

And yet.

You find a city without borders a city with no past, no future. And you remember having read this:

“If I see my city as beautiful and bewitching, then my life must be so too.”

-Orhan Pamuk, Istanbul: memories and the city

-Parinaz Eleish Gharagozlou

Courtesy of Leila Heller Gallery

Image caption: Parinaz Eleish Gharagozlou, Seven Pillars of Wisdom (Amnesia Series), 2020. Acrylic paint, oil paint, oil pen, pencil, paper, collage on canvas, 183.51 x 239.08 cm



December 14 (Tuesday) - February 10 (Thursday)


Leila Heller Gallery


Leila Heller Gallery 17 East 76th Street (off Madison Avenue) New York, NY 10021 Tel: +1 212 249 7695

Learn More



SELECTIONS is a platform for the arts, focusing on the Arab World.

Selections editorial presents a quarterly print magazine and weekly online publication with high quality content on all subjects related to Art and Culture. Full of world-leading artworks, exquisite brand imagery, original creative illustrations and insightful written articles.
Selections Viewing Rooms presents carefully curated online art shows aiming not only to shed light on contemporary art executed by living artists, but also for viewers to buy contemporary fine art, prints & multiples, photography, street art and collectibles.
Discover the previous and current shows here.
Cultural Narratives foundation is an extensive collection that is travelling the world by leading established and emerging talents aiming to reflect the culture of the region in their works.


Farid Trad: Collector and Art Patron at Saleh Barakat Gallery

This exhibition serves as a tribute to Farid Trad, an observer of a bygone era since 1969. As an architect-engineer, Trad impacted various realms within and surrounding his profession, including pedagogy and organisational aspects. Over a career spanning 43 years,…

‘I am Hymns of the New Temples’ by Wael Shawky at Sfeir Semler Gallery Karantina

Wael Shawky presents a new exhibition at the Sfeir-Semler Gallery, at their flagship space in Karantina in Beirut. This project encompasses a diverse range of artistic expressions, including a film, sculptures, paintings, and an installation. The exhibition premieres Shawky’s “I…

Memory of a paper city by Alfred Tarazi at Umam

From the disintegration of state institutions to the endemic neglect and destruction of its cultural heritage, Lebanon’s modern cultural and social legacy is in peril. In past years, the country has seen its cultural hubs crumble: publishing houses, theatres, cinemas,…

“Past Echoes: A Journey through Middle Eastern Product Design” curated by Babylon – The Agency at Villa Mokbel

“Past Echoes: A Journey through Middle Eastern Product Design” curated by Babylon – The Agency founded by Joy Mardini and William Wehbe – stands as a tribute to the rich heritage of Middle Eastern design interwoven within the historic Villa…

Samia Halaby retrospective ‘Lasting Impressions’ Series at Sharjah Art Museum

Sharjah Art Museum is hosting the annual “Lasting Impressions” series, dedicated to the Palestinian-American artist Samia Halaby. This major retrospective exhibition, curated by Inass Yassin, showcases over 200 of Halaby’s diverse works spanning six decades, including abstract paintings, digital pieces,…

‘Huguette et Nadine L’histoire d’une amitié’ at Galerie Janine Rubeiz

“Huguette possessed a zest for life, and for her, anything was possible. Her freedom and way of thinking took precedence, and she would sweep you along with her.” This is the affectionate sentiment expressed by Nadine Begdache when talking about…

october 2023

03may(may 3)09:0026nov(nov 26)20:00LOBI LOBI - BOBO LAND - Comic Craze Vol. 3

27may(may 27)09:0014jan(jan 14)09:00THE CASABLANCA ART SCHOOL

29may(may 29)09:0016oct(oct 16)09:00Silent Hands