Exhibition: Zoba’ah (زوبعة): The Whirlwind, 2022 (online)

Zoba’ah (زوبعة): The Whirlwind, 2022

How can we participate in creating the world we want to see and live in? To download artist Morehshin Allahyari’s sculpture Zoba’ah (زوبعة): The Whirlwind you have to agree to a set of ‘terms and conditions’ written by the artist and answer how you will take small actions to change the world in the bigger picture. In this way, you summon Zoba’ah (زوبعة), a creature from the Islamic world, who always brings about sudden change.

Based on drawings of the jinn Zoba’ah (زوبعة) from the 14th and 16th centuries, the Iranian-born artist Morehshin Allahyari has 3D modeled the sculpture Zoba’ah (زوبعة): The Whirlwind for the Museum of Contemporary Art’s virtual collection. In pre-Islamic and Islamic theology, a jinn is an intelligent spirit known as a shape-shifter created from smokeless fire, who exists in a parallel world. Along with humans and angels, the jinn are one of Allah’s three sentient creatures. Nevertheless, in contrast to angels who exclusively obey, jinn have their own will and agency. They are both good and evil, and show up when catastrophic situations appear to humans.

To download the figure, visitors to the exhibition must agree to terms and conditions that oblige them to commit to a series of micro actions in the world. Subsequently, the visitors’ responses can be read together on the Archive section of the website, and in this way Allahyari transforms our individual agency into a picture of the collective potential in the digital space.

As one of the most powerful jinn, Zoba’ah (زوبعة), which translates as ‘whirlwind’, brings immediate change once summoned. Meaningful change is needed, Allahyari believes, in this time of fights for justice, wars, and urgent climate disasters. Therefore, she brings Zoba’ah (زوبعة) into virtual space, which has represented a crucial public arena in recent years for transformative movements such as the current Iranian Uprising led by women under the hashtag #MahsaAmini, Arab Spring, anti-imperialist movements in Hong Kong, the EndSARS uprising in Nigeria, the worldwide Black Lives Matter protests, and the Me Too movement.

Experience the exhibition here


Find Art Week programme for the Museum of Contemporary Art here


Museum of Contemporary Art
Den Gamle Byrådssal
Stændertorvet 1, 4000 Roskilde

Level-free access – no, but it’s possible to use an elevator
Handicap toilet – yes
Free for companion – yes


Exhibition: Zoba’ah (زوبعة): The Whirlwind, 2022 (online)


'Exhibition: Zoba’ah (زوبعة): The Whirlwind, 2022 (online)'