TEHRAN, Jan. 22 (Mehr News Agency) -- A group of Iranian and foreign artists are heading to Hormoz Island in southern Iran on January 26 to take part in Iran's 15th Persian Gulf Environmental Art Festival.
Thirty local artisans will also join the group to help run the festival with the central theme of opposing the militarization of the Persian Gulf and the threat of war in the region.
American conservation artist Barbara Roux and German artist and musician Sibyll Kalff are currently in Iran to attend the program, and the gala's participants have been selected by Iranian land artist Ahmad Nadalian.
The artists will individually present works focusing on the festival's theme, Nadalian told ISNA.
He continued, "In the past three decades the Persian Gulf region has faced several wars in which millions of people have been killed. The aquatic plants and animals indigenous to the area have also suffered from the aftermath of the wars.
"The Persian Gulf was used as a passageway for warships and oil-tankers which were devastated during the recent wars, leading to an out-pouring of oil and chemical pollutants," he explained.
He remarked that some environmental experts claim that the Persian Gulf contains the most polluted water on earth, "The death-rate amongst fish is increasing and the group of dolphins that used to inhabit the region has died - this poses a big question."
Nadalian believes that the land art of Iran has the capability of being a reminder to the world of all the hostilities and injustices that have been perpetrated in the Persian Gulf area.
He went on to say, "The Iranian nation has suffered the most from these wars. On July 3, 1988, Iran Air Flight 655 (IR655) was shot down by U.S Vincennes on the Bandar Abbas-Dubai route, which resulted in the loss of 290 lives of innocent civilians from six nations including 66 children. There were 38 non-Iranians aboard.
"The U.S. government has, to date, neither admitted any wrongdoing or responsibility for this tragedy, nor apologized. The men of the Vincennes were all awarded and Commander Lustig, the air-warfare coordinator, even won the navy's Commendation Medal for "heroic achievement".
"And now artists will gather on Hormoz Island to create a piece of land art on the coast depicting the martyrs of this tragic incident with local red soil named "gelak". They will also use the colorful stones to be found on the beach to depict the image of 'Airbus A300B2'", he explained.
On choosing Hormoz Island for the 15th festival, he said, "The Island is near to the location where the airplane crashed, and it is also one of the major islands of the Persian Gulf."
He also announced that sessions will be held during the festival at the Portuguese Castle on the island, saying, "The castle represents that part of Iran's territory that was seized by foreigners many years ago and which was released during the Safavid era. The festival has since been organized to improve the defense of our land, it will have a great impact," he concluded.
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