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Accompanying an exhibition at the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, this publication presents the glass swallow works Perched, created by the artist Feleksan Onar.


While drawing on sources from her personal history as well as collective memory, Feleksan Onar’s works in glass deal with notions of identity, constructed narratives, historical relations and impacts of politics on society. In her recent project Perched, her story-telling in glass reflects on the Syrian refugee situation. Triggered by witnessing the helpless refugees strolling around the streets of Istanbul, after being forced to leave their homelands, Perched has been exhibited in the Pergamon Museum, Berlin, the New Jersey Visual Arts Center and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. The work was interpreted as “a visceral expression of the fact that in spite of diff erences of religion, culture, and individual histories, what we all want most is to be in the place we call home,” by the art critic Lisa Morrow.


A reading of Louis de Berniéres’ novel Birds Without Wings was an inspiration for Onar to create the series. Glass works, inspired by a book, create its own history over time and turn into a book again. This book marks the most comprehensive publication on Perched to date. The result here is a complementary structure addressing the aesthetic and political concepts inherent in Feleksan Onar’s art. Contiguity and fragility are the core of this project and provides the form for this book. Newly commissioned essays initiate sections that engage particular aspects of Onar’s work. Renowned author Louis de Berniéres contributes a short story; Prof. Dr. Stefan Weber, Mariam Rosser-Owen and Stefanie Bach propose a reading of Perched through the exhibitions in the Pergamon Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden; Nadania Idriss questions how is art supposed to foster a culture of peace and muses on being perched; and independent curator and writer Glenn Adamson speaks with Onar about her artistic practice.


Producing glass art, to use Onar’s own words, “not only expresses my past and present, but also my anxieties and expectations for future. Through glass, I speak, breathe and live.” This is the story of birds standing together in diff erent places with their various colors and holding a vital crisis in their silence, breath and life.

  • October

    Hardback, 280 x 240 mm

    128 pages, 80 colour illustrations

    ISBN: 978-1-911300-98-4

  • Contributors

    Louis de Berniéres, Author; Prof. Dr. Stefan Weber, Director of the Museum für Islamische Kunst / Pergamonmuseum; Mariam Rosser-Owen, Curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum Middle East Department; Nadania Idriss, Director of Berlin Glas; Stefanie Bach, Curator at the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden; Glenn Adamson, Curator and Writer

  • Exhibition

    Museum für Völkerkunde Dresden

    5 September 2020 – 21 February 2021

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