10 Poems from Hafez

Jila Peacock exhibited her Artist’s book, Ten Poems from Hafez, at a recent event held at the Oriental Museum, Durham University and organized by the Centre for Visual Arts and Cultures. She offered the audience an absorbing insight into the creation of the book and its translation into animated film.

In  Ten Poems from Hafez, exhibited at New Hall Cambridge and later at the British Museum in the 2006 exhibition, Word into Art, Iranian-born Jila Peacock uses the Persian text of whole poems from Hafez, the fourteenth-century metaphysical poet of Shiraz, to create images from symbolic animals mentioned in each poem.

Using subtle colours and a Persianate script, Nastalique, developed in fifteenth century Iran specifically for writing poetry, she has designed legible shape-poems by squeezing the words into the creature’s silhouette.  In a recent interview she said, ‘I am really a painter and printmaker, not a calligrapher, and my aim in making these images has been to use a ’visual language’ in translating what are in the original Farsi, luminous, musical, inspirational love poems’.

Tongue of the Hidden (2007) is a beautiful animated film directed by David Anderson, and based on  Jila Peacock’s hand-printed Artist’s book.  Here, the hand-printed images twist and turn, form and reform, dance and glide, creating  a magical landscape of startling luminosity and complexity.

Tongue of the Hidden from Jila Peacock on Vimeo.


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