The art project - RollWest
On foot with a gym wheel from Aachen to Washington DC
My name is Shahin Tivay Sadatolhosseini. For 35 years I have lived in Aachen, Germany as an artist, photographer, Rhönrad (gym wheel) acrobat and choreographer. Since my childhood days in Iran, I was always an enthusiastic gymnast. In 1985, during the Iran-Iraq war, my mother fled to Germany with me and my brother. Shortly after my arrival in Aachen I encountered the Rhönrad and was instantly fascinated by its elegant unity of acrobatics, dance and beauty. Since then I have represented Iran at world championships, coached gym wheel acrobats for many years,  and worked as a choreographer. The Rhönrad accompanies me in my life not only as a piece of sports equipment, but has also become an anchor of my identity as an Aachener and a constant source of inspiration for my professional activities as an artist. 
After completing the art project RollEast in 2015-17, walking with my wheel from Aachen to Tehran, I felt it was time to close the circle and depart to the West. On March 20th 2020, the day of the Persian New Year and the International Day of Happiness, my project RollWest was supposed to start, taking me from Aachen to Washington, DC. But it was the time of the first Covid 19-lockdown in Europe, and I had to postpone my departure. 

My current plan is to start on March 20th 2021, if the pandemic allows. I will walk from Aachen in the border triangle of Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands, through the Netherlands to Den Haag. There I intend to board a ship and sail via the northern route to Boston, then walk with my wheel to Washington, DC.

In this way, I will connect my country of origin, Iran, with its supposed greatest enemy, the US. The wheel will serve as my pack mule, my powerhouse, my snail shell, my platform for the camera, and much more. Every day I will photograph and film the places and people I meet through my wheel. Traveling with this unusual and unexpected piece of sports equipment easily leads to a wide variety of encounters, as I found during my RollEast travels. I am particularly interested in engaging in direct conversations with individuals, as I have found these personal, one on one conversations to be the best way to overcome prejudices, create connections, and revise one’s opinion on the urgent topics of our time.


The wheel is one of the oldest and most important inventions of humankind, and the circle as its essence is the central element of my activities as an artist. The circle symbolizes repeating cycles; not only night and day, or the cycle of seasons, both of which take on significant meaning in my travels, but also the meditative effect of recurring movements, and the concept of closing circles, bringing disparate points together. 


Follow me on my travels as I RollWest!