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Shajarian, Majidi discuss Bam Art Garden project

TEHRAN, Aug. 9 (Mehr News Agency) -- Iranian singer Mohammadreza Shajarian and filmmaker Majid Majidi discussed the Bam Art Garden project during a session held on Monday, the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) reported.

Majid suggested that they establish a Nongovernmental Organization (NGO) comprised of Iranian artists in order to facilitate completion of the project.

"The NGO will be a blessing and will yield many good results. Even it fails to do something, at least it will help the people of Bam mend their broken hearts," he added.

Two engineers of the project also attended the session.

In early July, Shajarian visited Bam to survey the construction process of the Art Garden and called on Iranian artists to assist the project. Afterwards, Majidi joined the project, saying that he would donate part of the box office receipts from his latest film "The Weeping Willow" for completion of the Art Garden educational and entertainment complex in Bam.

Shajarian initiated the project in the city after the devastating quake of December 2003. The three-story complex will have a library, an amphitheater, a little garden, and several other sections and will cover an area of 7000 square meters.

"Your message was very comprehensive," Shajarian told Majidi, adding, "We hope the other artists help us in this way. The Art Garden will be a center for Iranian music. Many maestros from throughout Iran will teach at the complex. It may be converted into a university in the future. We will try to convince Iran's House of Cinema to become involved in the project, if possible, in order to start a grand enterprise with prominent Iranian filmmakers and actors."

"We are fully at your service. Your presence beautifies everything," Majidi told Shajarian.

"The people's spirits are more in need of repair than their houses. Some officials have told me that the people do not trust them, 'but they trust you artists implicitly'," Shajarian said.

"The artists' efforts to restore Bam compel the government to participate in this project in order not to fall behind the artists, and to accelerate reconstruction of the city," he added.

Majidi said that the cast and crew of "The Weeping Willow" are scheduled to attend a special premiere in Bam, which will be held in late August or September. The film is slated to premiere in Iranian movie theaters on August 10.

The manager of the project previously estimated that the project would cost 25 billion rials, adding that only 3 billion rials has been collected so far.

But the project is 45 percent complete, Ali Jahandar said.

In January 2004, Shajarian's all-star group, comprised of Hossein Alizadeh, Keyhan Kalhor, and his son Homayun Shajarian, performed concerts for three nights at the Interior Ministry Hall in Tehran to raise funds for the Art Garden. He has also opened an account with Bank Melli to collect donations for the project.

According to Shajarian, the three-night concert series and its DVDs raised 800 million rials, and with additional donations from Iran's Music House and the Sony and Panasonic corporations, the amount rose to over 2.79 billion rials.

The proposal to hold a large gathering of Iranian artists and cultural figures on the anniversary of the earthquake was also discussed during the session.

... Payvand News - 8/9/05 ... --

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