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Bird Garden with Intestinal Self Portrait

© the artist. Photo credit: Government Art Collection

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Samira Abbassy's collage shows a female figure, her hair raised and her internal organs revealed in X-ray fashion. Her expression conveys what Abbassy describes as a state of rapture, as if in a meditative trance. Nearby are trees inhabited by colourful birds, with some of their patterns derived from Indian textile blocks.

Inspired by 'The Conference of Birds', a 12th-century verse by the Persian poet Farid Al-Din Attar, Abbassy's work depicts the physical and spiritual elements of human existence. Inspired by this idea, the natural forms of the trees and birds symbolise self-knowledge, while the woman's body represents the anatomical or physical aspect of life.

Government Art Collection





acrylic, ink, gouache & collage on indian petal paper


H 38.1 x W 55.5 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

purchased from the artist, 2003

Work type



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Government Art Collection

Old Admiralty Building, Admiralty Place, London, Greater London SW1A 2BL England

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