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Tehran Art Expo 2004

By Syma Sayyah, Tehran

Tehran is as chaotic and as busy as ever, and as I am writing these lines I can feel the first autumn breeze moving the curtains and letting us know that the autumn has finally arrived. With autumn I go back to days when I used to ski. In my younger years, from the beginning of Mehr, our gaze was always directed towards the peaks in the Albourz Mountains to see whether it has snowed or not so we would start doing our knee and thigh exercise to get ready for another season.

The month of Mehr also brings back those wonderful happy days when we were full of enthusiasm, the zest of life and as we went to a new class at school, we felt ten years older, stronger with each year that passed. Those wonderful carefree days when we were all hopeful and we did not know what cynicism meant and our biggest worry was what marks we got, or what subject we would study at university, - how things change! Yet life is o.k. and I keep telling myself that it is not what you have that counts, but rather what you do with what you have that is important and makes that fundamental difference.

Among the many events that have been happening in our Tehran, perhaps the most important and significant one this month is the first Tehran Art Expo (2004) which started two weeks ago in Roudaki Hall. Although Roudaki Hall is the best place in Tehran for concerts of all kinds, it is not necessarily the best place for an art exhibition due to the low levels of light, despite all the hard efforts the organizers have gone through.

This Expo was staged with the endless efforts and hard work and support of the Head of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, Dr. Samie-Azar and his devoted team of experts and art carers. The main purpose of this Expo, believe it or not, is to promote art and Iranian artists among governmental organizations and agencies. A real paradox in many senses but true just the same.

The exhibition came about in the past few years with the cooperation of Ministry of Culture & Guidance and the Center for Visual Art along with the law decree that was passed by the Iranian parliament that each organization should spend a small proportion of its budget (about 0.5%) for the purchase of art and promotion of arts in Iran.

The Expo was first supposed to take place at the Tehran International Trade Fairground on Chamran Expressway, but ended up at Roudaki Hall on three floors; although for this particular Expo the only place that light was generally considered decent was the ground floor foyer, despite all the hard work that had gone into the other two floors.

A Steering Committee was set up by T.M.C.A. for this 1st Great Art Expo of Tehran which consisted of a very strong team to oversee the staging of this big event. For the full list please see below. Many galleries, not all from Tehran, took part in this exhibition. I know that there were many meetings as to how and who to take part in this and at the end almost everyone was allowed to participate. I spoke with a few gallery owners that I know during the Expo and they were generally quite pleased with the result and hoped to exercise all the lessons that they had learnt from this years experiences in future years.

A very nice booklet accompanies the Expo which contains many of the wonderful pictures of the paintings and sculptures that you will see in this article. I would like to add that none of this would be achieved without the devotion and hard work that Dr. Samie-Azar and his team of experts expended in making this event come true and we hope that this will be a new beginning for Art In Iran and for Iranian Artists to find their true place in society and for all at large.

Please take a look at the pictures from the catalogues that some of the more expert galleries had provided for the viewers to take with.

Jaye Shoma Khali (we missed you!)

... Payvand News - 10/15/04 ... --

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