'The Earth is an Angel' is one of a group of sculptures by Houshiary in which the forces of life are symbolised in curved and pointed forms derived from the wings of Byzantine angels. These angels, found in churches in Istanbul, have four wings, one pair directed towards earth and one pair towards heaven, representing a conflict and union of opposing forces. Power, according to the artist, lies at the meeting point. In the sculpture this relationship is expressed in the dynamic intertwining of the sharply edged and pointed wing forms, in simultaneous union and opposition. The wing forms are contained within a sphere which, as the measurements of the sculpture reveal, is even slightly flattened at top and bottom like the earth. Thus, if the wings are taken as standing for the whole of the angel, the title has an almost literal meaning. The poetic idea of the earth as a benevolent being, an angel, has a universal appeal, but further light on it may be shed by Fulvio Salvadori in an essay written in close collaboration with the artist, in the catalogue of a 1988 exhibition of this and related works by Houshiary. Salvadori writes of 'the Soul of the World [which] appears also as the Angel of the Earth, heading the Guardian Angels, reddened in its clash with darkness, the fire of strife.' He further cites in this connection the mystic writer Sohravardi: 'Let it be known that Gabriel has two wings. The first, to his right side, is pure light ... And there is the left wing. On this one there is a kind of reddish glow resembling the reddish colour of the rising Moon or that of a peacock's claws'. This passage in particular may be related to the forms and colours of 'The Earth is an Angel'.
Simon Wilson, Tate Gallery: An Illustrated Companion, Tate Gallery, London, revised edition 1991, p.294