Elyas Alavi is a Tarntanya (Adelaide) based artist and poet whose practice across visual art and poetry addresses issues around displacement, trauma, exile, gender and sexual identity.
Reflecting on his Hazara background, Alavi uses his particular experiences and contemplations as an epistemological model for the dislocation of peoples. This auto-ethnographic approach offers a representative perspective for other displaced people and contributes to a deepening knowledge of the refugee and migration experience.
Born in Daikundi province, Afghanistan, Alavi moved to Iran as a child following the intensification of war in his homeland. In 2007 he moved to Australia as a refugee at risk and is currently based in Tarntanya (Adelaide).
Alavi graduated from a Master of Visual Arts at the University of South Australia in 2016 and a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours) in 2013, and has exhibited at Mohsen Gallery (Tehran), Firstdraft (Sydney), Robert Kananaj (Toronto), IFA (Kabul), Chapter House Lane (Melbourne), UTS gallery (Sydney) as well as ACE Open, FELTspace, Nexus Arts, CACSA Project Space and Sauerbier House (all Adelaide). He is the recipient of a 2019 Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship, and in 2020 completed a Master of Fine Arts at Chelsea College of Arts, University of London.
Alavi has published three poetry books in Afghanistan and Iran, receiving critical acclaim and a number of literature prizes: International Peace Poetry Prize winner, Tajikistan (2011), The Annual Reporters Poetry Prize, Tehran (2009), Young Poets Book of the Year, Iran (2008) and Afghan Young Poets Prize. He regularly runs art and poetry workshops in schools and community centres in Adelaide.
Image credit: Elyas Alavi, Salt and Pomegranates (2018).