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Tehran's Music and Art Scene

By Syma Sayyah, Tehran

In the midst of all that is and that is not "happening" here in the good old Tehran and under the rays of hot sun and within smog of all kinds of pollution, a lot of normal things are taking place. If one only reads the international press to keep up with the news on Iran, one could not possibly even imagine that such kind of normality prevails here, which are at times as interesting as they can be surprising.

Artist: Sanaz Alavi

One such event that even raised my eyebrow was the concert which was performed for three nights and the venue was more surprising than the event to some. You could not possibly guess where it was, I won't hurt you with the suspense. The concert took place in the lovely yard and garden of Niavaran Cultural Historic Complex, formerly known to all as, Niavaran Palace. One might wonder what will be next!

I must admit the place, where the concert was performed, attracted me more than the music; and so I paid 100,000 Rials (about $12) for my ticket, just to go see and satisfy my curiosity, although we know that the place is now a museum and many visitors go there. I thought the ticket prices were quite expensive, given that they had so many well known sponsors. May be it was meant to be kept for better-offs, rather an exclusive club. I just hope that next time they order more comfortable chairs and also may be the concert lasts a little longer.

The concert started with a 15 minutes delay when the night had fallen, and that made the heat more bearable. It was a combination of French Jazz by Mathieu Donarier and music from Boushehr preformed by Saeed Shanbezadeh band who appeared in their local customs and with their local instruments, and this was quite eye-catching. The French Embassy and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime were among several other agencies and local companies which had sponsored the event.

As for the result, well it was ok. As far as I am concerned live music is something else and wonderful, especially if there is a beat to it as well. For sure this concert was neither short of energy nor beat. Among the pieces played, there was a piece of what a musician friend called free jazz which was rather interesting. But my top mark went to the second piece of the first part where they had managed to truly and beautifully combine two types of music -jazz and Bandari- very brilliantly and superbly . The lights played a very small part, but the unbelievable amount of energy that Mr. Shanbezadeh expressed, specially during the second half, was enigmatic, so much so that at one point I thought he was just about to fly off the stage. One could envisage that if all the obstacles were not there, the atmosphere would be a lot more exciting for all. Another thing that caught my attention was the soldiers guarding the place but could not help popping in to see what was going on; and the plain-clothes security people who lingered there made it all both funny and sad at the same time!

Artist: Sanaz Alavi

The other interesting event that I have been to was a painting exhibition at Laleh Gallery, which is in Park Laleh, between Hotel Laleh and the Carpet Museum. The show was titled "First of Summer" and it was a painting exhibition by Searching Committee of Society of Iranian Painters. Almost all of the painters had only one piece of work on display, due to limitation of space, and this was a pity. There were few works that I found to be excellent. These were works by Masoumeh Mozaffari, Fellor FayazBakhesh and Nastran Shahbazi. Most of the work for the exhibition was done by Behrank Samadzadeghan. Later I thought why is it that so many women are doing such good work, is it that they are just better or is it that many women have found painting as a serious way to display their inner self so beautifully?

Artist: Sanaz Alavi

This may also be said about another painting exhibition that I went to last week by young Sanaz Alavi. This young artist, despite her fragile health, she represented hope and life in her work, in a very delicate and sweet manner. She is currently studying for her masters art degree at the university, and due to delicate state she needs to be taken around by her mother. I thought her work, that I am enclosing with this piece, and specially the blue one called "mother and child and bright spirit stands up against the darkness" were quite touching. Sanaz has the ability to reach to her emotions within and show it to us eagerly and simply via her works, even though some may appear a little na´ve; but then some of Chagall's works seem very na´ve too. I am sure, in time she will turn out to be a great artist.

Artist: Gholamhossien Nami

Finally the last but by no means the least was the exhibition of Mr. Gholamhossien Nami, one of Iran's well known painters whose works have been bough by a major bank and Tehran Museum of Modern Art among others.

Artist: Gholamhossien Nami

There is a mixture of apprehension and eagerness when one goes to see the works of big names in town. This time I was touched and pleased at the same time. Some of Nami's works were good and interesting, but I dare to say that a few may be considered outstanding. Here you can see samples of my choice of Mr. Nami's works. The works are generally paint on canvas. Some works had some 'khesht' or ingot in parts to give it the effect that the artist intended, which may also be considered its style. We may have previously noted something similar in works by Kalantrai, but here I thought it was used with a modern originality. Since I could not afford to even think about buying any of his works, I just hope that may be the Museum would undertake the task of turning these lovely works and others of well-known and good artists, into post cards and posters so that we can have the pleasure of looking at them at home and sharing them with our dear ones. I do hope that they will do so for all art lovers' sake.

Artist: Gholamhossien Nami

... Payvand News - 8/1/03 ... --

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