Installation view of Ara Dolatian’s work <em>Relic</em> 2022 on display as part of the <em>Melbourne Now</em> exhibition at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne from 24 March – 20 August 2023. Image: Tom Ross

Ara Dolatian

Ara Dolatian
(b. 1979, Baghdad, Iraq. Lives and works in Melbourne)

Ara Dolatian is an artist with an interdisciplinary practice that explores the relationship between cultural landscapes and natural ecosystems. Part functional apparatuses, part mini utopias and part biological experiments, Dolatian’s ceramic works are hybrid pieces that explore ideas of the ‘studio’ and the ‘laboratory’, with concepts often informed by social, environmental and political issues.

Relic, 2022, is a sculptural ceramic work inspired by archaeological relics. Drawing on the cultural ecologies of lost and stolen artefacts of the Al-Jazira region – the area between the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers, also known as Mesopotamia – Relic is hand-built using earthenware clay, glazes and oxides. Eccentric in form and colour scheme, its curvatures and seemingly fragile shapes are inspired by archaeological figures and decayed architectural sites in the region. Dolation’s largest work to date, Relic continues the artist’s abstract visualisations of the dialogue between the human and non-human, nature, biology and technology.

Dolatian completed a Bachelor of Fine Art (Sculpture) at RMIT University in 2012 and a Master of Social Science, Environment and Planning at RMIT in 2014. He has exhibited in Australia and internationally, with recent solo exhibitions taking place at Scott Lawrie Gallery, Auckland (2022); James Makin Gallery, Melbourne (2022); BLINDSIDE, Melbourne (2021); and c3 Contemporary Art Space, Melbourne (2020). In 2021 he was awarded the Incinerator Art Award and received a residency as part of Craft’s Makers in Residence program. In 2019 he was a finalist in the Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize and in the Deakin University Small Sculpture Awards. He is represented by James Makin Gallery in Melbourne and Scott Lawrie Gallery in Auckland.