Iranian Art – Afarin Rahmanifar Fri, 04 Jun 2021 18:54:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Iranian Art – Afarin Rahmanifar 32 32 Why “The Empress and Me” is the most controversial book in the art world at the moment Fri, 04 Jun 2021 15:19:50 +0000

Empress Farah Pahlavi with Salvador Dali in Paris, 1967

Courtesy of Éditions Assouline.

The legacy of the last Empress of Iran, Farah Pahlavi (née Diba) – wife of the late Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi – is undoubtedly her patronage of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art (TMoCA). With 1970s Iran filled with oil money, the modern Empress set out on an almost unlimited budget to amass an art collection that represented a fusion of Western and Eastern art.

It is in this context that the 78-year-old former Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) curator Donna Stein writes her highly controversial 2021 memoir, The Empress and I: How an Ancient Empire Collected, Rejected, and Rediscovered Modern Art. Stein’s contested account – which received equal praise and criticism – chronicles his work for Her Imperial Majesty’s Private Secretariat between 1975 and 1977.

Farah Diba Pahlavi by Andy Warhol

Courtesy of Éditions Assouline.

At the end of Stein’s tenure – and to celebrate Empress Pahlavi’s 39th birthday – the TMoCA would open its neo-brutalist doors filled to the brim with a variety of modern art that far eclipsed any other collection outside of Europe and the United States. Despite the advent of the Iranian revolution barely two years later, even Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini could not bring himself to dismantle the museum. Originally purchased for less than $ 100 million, TMoCA’s vast collection is currently estimated at over $ 3 billion.

An American in Tehran

“Because I was a foreigner working largely in secrecy, my leadership role in the formation of the National Collection was never fully recognized,” Stein writes in the preface to her book. She maintains that her male Iranian superiors “boldly took credit for my aesthetic choices … so I finally wrote The Empress and I to correct the file. ‘

Empress Pahlavi (left) and Donna Stein discussing a photograph by Hans Bellmer, 1977

Photo by Jila Dejam. Courtesy of Donna Stein.

Having jumped at the chance to work on the TMoCA project in 1975, Stein found herself propelled from the sandy streets of New York to the sunny ones of the Iranian capital. Upon arrival, Stein began working behind the scenes as a researcher and advisor for Karim Pasha Bahadori – the project’s chief of staff and a childhood friend of the Empress.

While her initial responsibility appears to have been to draft the museum’s acquisition policy, Stein claims that she quickly began organizing scouting expeditions, identifying potential purchases, and liaising between artists, gallery owners and his superiors. “I was the quality filter, and I used this filter very heavily,” Stein told the New York Times.

Empress Farah Pahlavi with Andy Warhol at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, 1977. The artist traveled to Tehran to create his serigraphy portrait series Farah Diba Pahlavi

Courtesy of Archives PL.

Recounting her experience as a single woman in Tehran, Stein recalls how the Empress’ staff referred to her as a “woman who lives alone” – although she knows her name. “This unfortunate phrase was also used to describe women of questionable virtue,” says Stein, “It was inconceivable that a woman would live alone.”

Given his grueling experience at the center of the 20th century’s most ambitious Iranian artistic enterprise, Stein makes no secret of the fact that his book aims to settle old scores. However, the Empress – for whom Stein claims to have been a “confidante” – comes out of memories relatively unscathed.

The intrigue of the palace abounds

Arguably the most fascinating parts of The Empress and I chronicle the intrigue of the palace that has become ubiquitous with every major art acquisition. Believing that she had earned Bahadori’s professional respect, Stein personally remembers pressuring her to acquire the Mark Rothko brand. Yellow center n ° 2 (1954); that of Francis Bacon Reclining man with sculpture (1961); and Roy Lichtenstein Roast the grill (1961).

Much to the chagrin of his former Iranian colleagues, Stein also takes credit for the museum’s historic acquisition of Paul Gauguin’s work. Still Life with Japanese Woodcut (1889) writing: “I was delighted that we got the Gauguin, which I considered one of his greatest still lifes”. Adding that the single canvas, ‘Demonstrated [Gauguin’s] interest in japanese ukiyo-e woodcuts… thus anticipating the intercultural dialogue that has shaped the philosophy of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art. ‘

Reclining Man With Sculpture by Francis Bacon, 1961

Courtesy of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art

So why is Stein’s name nowhere in the museum documents relating these noble acquisitions? According to her, the answer is simple: misogyny. Stein alleges that as her star continued to rise, Bahadori – the public face of the museum staff whom she had romantically rejected – took credit for her work and forced her to stand back.

After the Empress’s cousin, Kamran Diba, was appointed director of TMoCA, Stein claims his reputation quickly deteriorated, hinting that Diba may be envious of his high reputation with the Empress. Eventually, Stein was ousted due to bribery charges which she said are bogus and were designed to drive her out of Tehran.

Contested claims

Given the immense cultural pride that TMoCA brings to the Iranian people, it is understandable that they seek to protect their heritage from perceived slights. On many occasions, Stein’s general tone is condescending, as she describes the museum audience as “uneducated” and refers to Iran as the “Third World” – both evocative of 19th century orientalist sentiments.

Diba, who lives in exile in France, has expressed his objections to the claims The Empress and me. In an official statement to Artnet news, Diba contradicts Stein’s account by stating that she was mainly involved in “building the collection of photographs” – a collection he does not consider particularly impressive.

Talk with Tatler, the famous photographer Cyrus Mahboubian – who is of Iranian origin and was introduced to the Empress – remarks: “Whether Donna Stein’s role in the construction of the collection was central or only peripheral, let us not forget that the He Iran is a country with thousands of years of civilization and artistic production.

There is also the question of Stein’s characterization of her relationship with the Empress – whom she only met face to face three times during her work in Iran. However, Stein claims the two established a telephone connection between their formal meetings which continues today.

While critics cast doubt on the veracity of such claims, the Empress is recorded with the New York Times last year stating: “Donna Stein was a professional and hardworking person who delivered results. I trusted his opinion. We have a friendly relationship and we communicate by phone, but not too often. ‘

Enduring love for an empress in exile

Ignoring the controversy surrounding Stein’s memoirs and her callous language, what becomes irrefutably clear is that many Iranians have a lasting love for their Empress in exile – and the TMoCA remains a symbol of her love for them.

Still Life with Japanese Woodcut by Paul Gauguin, 1886

Courtesy of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art.

Thanks to Empress Farah Pahlavi, great Western artists like Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol and Henry Moore have engaged in a dynamic interaction with their contemporary Iranian counterparts. Contrary to Stein’s one-sided opinion, the Empress facilitated a reciprocal dialogue between East and West that continues – an investment in soft power that even a revolution could not hide.

From her home in Paris, the last Empress of Iran continues to champion the artistic prowess of her homeland and support the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art through her collaboration with scholarly publishers like Assouline – who produced the glorious tome ( and expensive) Modern Iran: The Empress of Art in 2018.

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Huge fire at oil refinery near Iranian capital has extinguished Thu, 03 Jun 2021 13:02:20 +0000

A huge fire that broke out at an oil refinery near the Iranian capital and sent a huge plume of black smoke into the sky over Tehran was extinguished after more than 20 hours, a news agency reported .

The semi-official ISNA agency quoted the country’s deputy petroleum minister, Alireza Sadeghabadi, as saying the blaze was first fully contained and then finally extinguished.

“The courageous actions of the firefighters (…) led to the complete extinction of the fire and prevented the flames from spreading to other tanks nearby,” Sadeghabadi said, thanking the firefighters.

The fire broke out on Wednesday evening in the state-owned Tondgooyan Petrochemical Co, south of Tehran.

Oil Ministry’s SHANA news agency said this was due to a leak in two waste tanks at the facility. Authorities initially suggested that the flames affected a liquefied gas pipeline at the refinery.

(Ebrahim Noroozi / AP)

Tehran Fire Department spokesman Jalal Maleki told state television that 10 fire stations, including 60 heavy vehicles and more than 180 firefighters, participated in the firefighting operation.

Tehran’s chief of emergency medical services Payman Saberian said 11 people were injured, including four in hospital, ISNA reported.

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh attended the scene overnight. While seeking to assure the public that the fire would not affect production, the Iranians lined up for fuel Thursday morning, the start of the weekend in the Islamic Republic.

Earlier, SHANA also quoted Shaker Refinery spokesman Khafaei as saying that authorities hoped the blaze would go out on its own after running out of fuel in the coming hours.

Temperatures in Tehran reached nearly 40C (104F) on Wednesday. The hot summer weather in Iran has caused fires in the past.

The blaze came the same day a fire hit Iran’s largest naval warship, which then sank in the Gulf of Oman.

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Rothko brings celeb power to London gallery launch Thu, 03 Jun 2021 04:01:26 +0000

Is there more to say about Mark Rothko? Marc Glimcher seems to think so. The president and CEO of the Pace Gallery, which has represented the Rothko estate since 1978, plans to launch his new London space at 4 Hanover Square on October 8 with an exhibition of works on paper by the premier abstract expressionist artist. order. Up to 25 works, on loan from the Rothko Estate and private collectors, will be on display (most will not be for sale). All of the pieces were made in the late 1960s after the artist was forced to stop large-scale painting due to poor health.

“We wanted to tell Rothko’s story and show the different sides of his practice,” says Glimcher. A new multimedia room by Brooklyn-based Torkwase Dyson will complement Rothko’s works in the new London space, and the move to the 8,600-square-foot street-level Mayfair Gallery is seen as a vote of confidence in the capital, while rival Paris art center gains momentum. “Artists want to continue exhibiting in London and curators and writers want to be there,” adds Glimcher, endorsing the new London Gallery Weekend which takes place across the city (June 4-6). Meanwhile, Pace’s current Burlington Gardens gallery inside the Royal Academy “will move to another use,” he adds.

Susan J Mumford, Managing Director of ArtAML © Chris King

An important date is looming for the UK art trade. Since the start of last year, art companies have had to comply with strict new regulations against money laundering. June 10 is the deadline for companies to fully comply. “This is the deadline for art market participants with UK companies to register with HM Revenue & Customs in order to continue to deal as art market participants,” said Susan J Mumford, Managing Director of compliance firm ArtAML. Participants must comply with the new law, the EU’s Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive, where the prices or related transactions are equivalent to € 10,000 or more. Ivan Macquisten, Art Market Analyst on the ArtAML Advisory Board, says: “Some art market players have taken this very seriously and have prepared themselves well; others have taken the ostrich approach. Importantly, artists will not be classified as “art market participants”, and therefore are not bound by the new legislation.

Mickalene Thomas ‘July 1976’ (2021) (detail)

“This is the most ambitious project I’ve never done one with a living artist, ”explains art dealer Dominique Lévy. The co-founder of Lévy Gorvy refers to a series of exhibitions dedicated to the artist Mickalene Thomas, launched this fall in its four spaces. Beyond the pleasure principle launches in New York City on September 9 with Thomas’ latest large-scale “Jet” paintings that draw inspiration from pin-up calendars published in Jet Magazine featuring pioneering African American women. “Mickalene’s work has incredible relevance; she is truly a great American artist. It’s about the beauty, sensuality and strength of black women, but you can’t hide the vulnerability, ”says Lévy. The next chapter of the work opens in London on September 30, while the following exhibition at Lévy Gorvy’s Parisian space (from October 7) includes an experimental video made with Thomas’ partner, curator Racquel Chevremont. . Finally, his “Resist” paintings, which focus on black American civil rights activism, will be unveiled at the Hong Kong Gallery (October 14). This vast unpublished corpus is presented by Lévy Gorvy in partnership with the Galerie Nathalie Obadia in Paris. “We are temporary ambassadors for artists,” says Lévy, explaining the arrangement.

Shadi Ghadirian, from the series ‘Qajar’ (1998)

Parviz Tanavoli ‘Blue Heech’ (2005)

Middle East Financial Mohammed afkhami is putting its vast collection of modern and contemporary works by Iranian artists online in a “virtual museum” that it hopes to launch by the end of the year. The website will include scholarly texts, artist biographies and a special feature allowing viewers to see the interior of Iranian artists’ studios. “I want it to be accessible to everyone in Iran with a smartphone,” he said. Afkhami, born in Switzerland in 1974 to Iranian parents, adds that his collection of 600 people will be staged in specially organized online exhibitions over the next two years. The opening show is a virtual recreation of the traveling exhibition of Iranian artists Rebel, buffoon, mystic, poet: contemporary Persians, including works by 23 artists from his collection, including Shirin Aliabadi, which will be launched at the Asia Society in New York this fall (September 10, 2021 to January 16, 2022). Afkhami has purchased 67 works since the start of Covid-19, including a marble sculpture by Reza Aramesh for $ 112,000 from the Leila Heller Gallery.

Art Basel Hong Kong has offered a ‘HoloPresence’ showroom © Art Basel

The dealers were teleported into Art Basel Hong Kong last month in the form of holograms, sparking new debate over what the post-pandemic art world will look like. The technology is courtesy of ARHT Media, which has set up a “HoloPresence” showroom at the fair, allowing gallery owners from Singapore, Geneva and New York to present their works of art in hologram form to VIP collectors. Dealers have been captured from head to toe in 4K video and rich audio; this information was then compressed, sent over the Internet and displayed in holographic form, explains Larry O’Reilly, CEO of ARHT Media. Jasdeep Sandhu from the Gajah Gallery in Singapore participated in the project. “The whole hologram experience is part of a larger arsenal that galleries and art fairs try in order to reach their collector base,” he says. “It was pretty smooth once you got used to the half-second lag.”

‘The Hekking Mona Lisa’ has a sale estimate of € 200,000 to € 300,000

If you can’t own the “Mona Lisa”, you could bid for a copy of the famous painting by Leonardo da Vinci. Christie’s Paris offers “Mona Lisa Hekking“in an online auction (June 11-18) – a reproduction of the smiling sitter owned by antiquarian Raymond Hekking, who insisted in the 1960s that his portrayal of” La Gioconda “is the real thing rather than the work exhibited at the Persienne. Hekking acquired its replica from an antique dealer near Nice in the early 1950s. The work, handed over by the heirs of Hekking, is attributed to “the Italian school of the early seventeenth century, disciple de Leonardo da Vinci “(estimate 200,000-300,000 €).” The fact that a copy, even of a famous painting, can now be estimated at hundreds of thousands of euros shows how the market for ‘Art now revolves around icons, “says art historian Bendor Grosvenor.” If you can attach a big name, or a big brand, even to a pedestrian copy, you have a valuable work of art. ” In January 2019, another 17th century reproduction was sold at Sotheby’s in New York for r $ 1.7 million.

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Before “Migrant mother” Wed, 02 Jun 2021 15:04:18 +0000

DOROTHEA LANGE had a knack for revealing the intricacies of her human subjects – from Dust Bowl migrants to Japanese American families incarcerated in desolate internment camps, she photographed the tragedy. His iconic and haunting images from the 1930s and 1940s document the lives of individuals amid political and social upheaval.

In his new novel, The Bohemians, Jasmin Darznik looks through a fictional lens at Lange’s beginnings and how we came to know her as a great artist and serious historian. Darznik retraces her steps from a commercial photographer who made a living making portraits of San Francisco’s elite to an artist who wanted to show the world the faces of those who were forced by poverty or a government decree to live in company margin.

Imagining the turning point in the life of an artist, and even less of a figure as well-known as Lange, takes a bit of art in itself. Darznik writes in first person, with Lange as the narrator, telling her life story before she embarked on her stint with the Farm Security Administration to document the Dust Bowl and the Depression. The result is a believable portrayal of Lange as an impressionable 23-year-old from Hoboken, New Jersey, arriving in San Francisco in 1918, lame from a childhood battle with polio and nearly penniless.

She meets Caroline Lee on a city bus after spending the night in a park. The stylish Chinese-American, a skilled seamstress forced to work for low wages in a department store basement, ignores taunts from white passengers and speaks with Lange from her large camera case. Lange had been the apprentice of Arnold Genthe in New York, the famous photographer from San Francisco’s Chinatown; “Genthe,” she said, “had set my mind on fire and trained my eye. “

Their chance encounter leads Lange into two important aspects of post-WWI San Francisco. The first place Lee takes him is the Monkey Block, a vast maze of artist studios on Montgomery Street in the heart of the Barbary Coast. “If one room had an easel, another had a dressmaker’s dummy, and the third a grand piano.” In this bohemian mix, Lee introduces him to professional female photographers, Consuelo Kanaga and Imogen Cunningham, both of whom will have a big impact on Lange’s work. It was also where Lange first saw flamboyant artist Maynard Dixon, whom she would later marry.

The number of people Lange meets – from Ansel Adams to Mabel Dodge Luhan, Frida Kahlo and Donaldina Cameron – is staggering. Fortunately, Darznik includes an afterword that explains who is real and who replaces a historical figure.

Lange’s friendship with Lee also gives him a keen awareness of the anti-Chinese sentiment so prevalent in the city. Despite the elite’s mad affection for the attributes of Japonism, Asian Americans – especially Chinese women – have no rights and are treated with contempt. Even starving white families during the Spanish Flu pandemic insult Lee when she delivers food to them.

Lange began his career taking photos of wealthy families, and Lee became his office manager. In Lange’s biographies, Lee is mentioned as his studio assistant; Darznik chose to consider a deeper friendship between the two. From Lee, Lange learns about the trafficking of “Chinese girls as young as nine who have been drugged, made up and dressed in scraps of discarded silk.” The unruly ones were burned with dripping hot wax, burned with metal tongs, chained to beds.

Darznik undoubtedly tapped into her own artistic growth as she tried to understand Lange’s transformation. She was born in Tehran and came to the United States at the age of five. Like Lange, she therefore understands what it means to be an outsider in an unfamiliar culture. A serious scholar with a law degree from the University of California and a PhD in English from Princeton, Darznik turned to fiction when publishing his first novel, Song of a captive bird, in 2018. This book, a choice of the editors of the New York Times Book Review, is also inspired by the life of a woman artist, the Iranian poet and director Forough Farrokhzad.

The strength of The Bohemians is not only the deep meaning of Lange’s development as a socially conscious artist, but also the way in which Darznik intertwines the political tenor of the time, especially the prejudices and anti-Asian laws and the encroachment of the Depression. It is the latter that Darznik identifies as the impetus for Lange to move from commercial photography to documentary photography. “Taking pictures in the street was different from working in the studio,” she recalls. “But I knew how to trust my eye.” She saw men “who felt the need and the misery […] sitting on the sidewalks as if they had been wrecked there.

Although his camera is too big to hide, no one seems to be paying attention. It focuses on a man in a tattered coat and hat, whose “bald cheeks were hollow and his hands folded in front of him as if he was praying.” This is the photo we know as White Angel Bread Line. She hangs it in her studio next to her portraits of Levi Strausses, Haases and Youngs.

There are many echoes of the themes of the novel in the world today – from the influenza pandemic of 1918, which created a “beautiful but unsettling silence” that allows Lange to hear the birds singing in the city. , scapegoats and vicious hate crimes against Asians, as well as the “ruthless and ugly face” of misery, where “crowds of scruffy souls” live in makeshift tents on the sidewalk.

Darznik writes that she wanted to examine Lange’s beginnings as a photographer at a time when “photography was not generally seen as an art or a documentary.” In doing so, she also illuminated some pivotal moments in California history that have become part of our present.


Elaine Elinson is the former editor-in-chief of ACLU News and co-author of Wherever there is a fight, winner of a gold medal at the 2010 California Book Awards.

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For stand-up comedy Maz Jobrani, 2021 marks a real return to comedy, an opportunity to reflect on the Trump presidency-Art-and-culture News, Firstpost Tue, 01 Jun 2021 20:11:10 +0000

Even though his jokes are about politics, Jobrani says he feels a boost because of what he describes as all the material – and chaos – of the Trump presidency.

Dubai: For Iranian-American Maz Jobrani, a stand-up in Dubai marked the first time he has been in front of a large audience abroad since the start of the coronavirus pandemic – and he’s feeling it.

“Doing stand-up comedy is a bit like going to the gym – you have to take the stage five, 10 times a week,” said Jobrani, sitting in a Dubai hotel overlooking the Burj Khalifa, the most tall building in the world. “You have to keep going or the muscles are going to rust.”

Jobrani had a calm demeanor during a recent interview with The Associated Press. It was a far cry from the exaggerated expressions and dancing he is known for in his performance.

Taking the stage at the recent Dubai Comedy Festival, Jobrani burst into an Iranian dance routine to one of Dua Lipa’s hit pop songs, eliciting laughs from audiences eager to be the coronavirus The pandemic still rages across much of the world. The UAE has one of the highest per capita vaccination rates in the world and its economy has largely reopened.

Being on stage has become a luxury for comedians, Jobrani said, with some unable to perform for more than a year. After the sites closed last year, additional creativity was needed. First, Jobrani started doing shows on Instagram, letting his fans know what he did on a daily basis during the lockdown, or doing workouts using random items.

Then he tried drive-ins, which posed the same problem for stand-up comedy as online video calls: “You can’t hear their laughter,” he said. “You have to remind them, ‘If you like what I’m saying, if you like the joke, please honk your horn,'” he recounted. “So people would honk you, you were telling a joke (and) they would honk you.”

In some states in the United States, he has performed in outdoor venues to audiences of limited capacity. At others, he played indoors. In Arizona and Florida, he performed in comedy clubs, where he said he felt nervous because it was before the vaccine rolled out.

“Comedians need interaction – we’re better off in a room, with an audience, laughing, talking,” he said. “And this far-off world took that away from us, but again, I think we have adjusted, a lot of people have adjusted.”

Jobrani, originally from Iran, moved to California at the age of 6 with his family. Like many Iranians, they fled the 1979 Islamic revolution in the country. He grew up in the San Francisco area.

His acting credits begin right after the 9/11 attacks with a major role in the American action series 24, in which he plays a member of an Afghan militant group hoping to detonate a nuclear bomb in Los Angeles.

Later he stopped playing such roles, but still played with the theme, setting up the Axis of evil comic tour. He wrote a book called I’m not a terrorist, but I played one on TV. His comedy is largely fueled by this and his past. During Donald Trump’s tenure, he focused on the US president.

“You know, for the last four years I’ve been very political, constantly with the Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump stuff,” he said. “You know the ban on Muslims, you know the children in cages, you know the mismanagement of coronavirus . “

Jobrani’s visit to Dubai came at a critical time for the wider Middle East. Tensions still remain high between his native Iran and the United States as negotiations continue over Tehran’s tattered nuclear deal with world powers as a hard-line supporter appears poised to take the presidency.

On the day of its set, Israel and the Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip agreed to a truce after an 11-day war killed more than 250 people, mostly Palestinians in Gaza, and caused heavy disruption. destruction in impoverished coastal territory.

While Jobrani discussed the conflict and the politics of the region in an interview with the AP, he didn’t mention it in his set.

“It’s interesting because what you do as a comedian, you know, your job is to make people laugh,” Jobrani said. “If I lived here and… felt there was an injustice and really wanted to talk about it, I would probably find the right way to do it in this society.

The UAE just last year struck a diplomatic recognition deal with Israel and signed the White House deals with Trump – but Jobrani believes Trump shouldn’t be praised for the deal.

“There was no will to solve this problem, the Israeli-Palestinian problem,” he said. “I feel again that maybe governments, especially America, have not prioritized it, even under Obama and especially under Trump.”

“It was laughable that a lot of conservatives in America were like, ‘Well, Trump made peace in the Middle East,’” he said. “I said, ‘They weren’t at war, what are you talking about?’ “

Life doesn’t seem to be slowing down for the actor. He continues his tour by creating his podcast Back to school with Maz Jobrani, spending time with his wife and two children, and caring for a dog they adopted during the pandemic.

But even though his jokes are about politics, he says he feels a whiplash of what he has described as all the material – and chaos – of the Trump presidency.

“I’ll say I’m almost exhausted, it’s almost we’ve had PTSD for four years,” Jobrani said. “But the problem is, what I feel is the injustice in the world has not stopped,” he continues. So sometimes I’m like, ‘Oh my God, I have to go back on this roller coaster.’ “

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Carriageworks Announces World Premiere of New Dance Work Mon, 31 May 2021 11:42:23 +0000

Carriageworks Today has announced the world premiere of a new dance work by resident company Marrugeku to be performed August 4-7, 2021. Jurrungu Ngan-ga – meaning Straight Talk in Yawuru – reflects on the disproportion of Indigenous Australians in detention and first hand descriptions of life in immigration detention centers in Australia.

The multimedia theater production draws on perspectives on incarceration shared by Chief Yawuru and Western Australian Senator Patrick Dodson, one of six Commissioners and the only non-lawyer who served on the Royal Commission to investigation into the indigenous deaths in police custody. It is inspired by the themes of the famous autobiographical novel No Friend but the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison (2018) by Kurdish-Iranian journalist and filmmaker Behrouz Boochani. The novel, translated by Australian Iranian philosopher and activist Omid Tofighian from thousands of WhatsApp messages Boochani wrote on a smuggled phone, is a tale of Boochani’s perilous journey to Christmas Island and his subsequent incarceration in a facility. Australian Government Immigration Detention Center on Manus Island.

Blair French Said, CEO of Carriageworks;

Marrugeku Intercultural Dance Theater addresses local and global issues surrounding fear of cultural difference. Carriageworks is proud to commission and present this provocative and timely new work by Marrugeku – a work that mixes searing truths with dark humor, fear, sadness and courage to highlight ways to empower ourselves to think and rewrite our future together.

Set in a large-scale installation designed by leading West Australian visual artist Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, Jurrungu Ngan-ga was designed by choreographer and dancer Dalisa Pigram and director and playwright Rachael Swain with Patrick Dodson, and premiered.

With performers Czack (Ses) Bero, Emmanuel James Brown, Chandler Connell, Luke Currie-Richardson, Issa el Assaad, Zachary Lopez, Bhenji Ra, Feras Shaheen and Miranda Wheen; Vuyst’s dramaturgy Hildegard and cultural dramaturgy Behrouz Boochani, Patrick Dodson, Omid Tofighian, with music by Sam Serruys, Paul Charlier and Rhyan Clapham alias DOBBY; sound design by Sam Serruys and Paul Charlier, costumes by Andrew Treloar and lighting design by Damien Cooper.

Marrugeku’s cultural team and cast drew on their intersecting but distinct experiences (as indigenous, displaced, exiled, transgender, and / or settler), to respond to key themes of Boochani’s novel with choreography, a sound and visual arts.

Rachael Swain, artistic co-director of Marrugeku ‘, said;

Jurrungu Ngan-ga draws attention to Australia’s creation of dehumanizing spaces without due process and without the necessary social support and respect. The show reveals how this unique dialogue between indigenous, settler and refugee perspectives can address the burning issues of our time, investigating what Australia wishes to isolate and hide from view.

Jurrungu Ngan-ga was commissioned by Carriageworks and Arts House in Melbourne.

Session details

Location: Carriageworks
Date: August 4-7, 2021
For more information, click HERE

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Fighting to nail the truth Sun, 30 May 2021 01:30:19 +0000

Languages ​​of Truth: by Salman Rushdie, Hamish Hamilton, 416 pages, 799.

Since 2015, Rushdie has taught writing at New York University. Many writers early in their careers have to write what they know. One of the consequences of this advice, Pakistani-British novelist Hanif Kureishi once told me, was that many of his writing students ended up writing versions of their autobiographies. While some may be exemplary, there are limits to individual experience. As Rushdie notes in the opening essay, Wonderful tales: “Unless what you know is really interesting, don’t write about it. Write down what you don’t know. That’s not to say the writing doesn’t have to be real. American writers Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald have left home to find their voices in Europe, he says.

How important is it for the writer to experiment with what he writes about and what role does the imagination play?

“Many writers start out with a nugget of personal experience that prompts them to write,” says Rushdie. “But in some cases, this nugget is not particularly original; or it does, but it quickly runs out. So what? What I was suggesting is that writers should leave this “safe zone” of the “given” and try to find stories in the inexhaustible supply of stories the world has to offer. And yes, certainly add your own imaginative flights to what you discover; but a writing life should be one in which you are constantly expanding your horizons. Daniel Defoe wasn’t stranded on a desert island before writing Robinson Crusoe. He learned what it could be from someone who had been.

Tongues of truth begins with an encyclopedic account of the power of myths – Greek, Roman, Norse, Persian, and indeed Indian, drawing parallels between cultures and connecting threads between them. Are we telling the same stories in different forms? “The stories we tell over and over are those that spring from the roots of human nature – stories of love and hate, of war and peace, of knowledge and ignorance, of men and women, our differences and our similarities, ”says Rushdie. “Ancient stories live because they crystallize universal truths, which is why I have always found them useful.”

In 2012, Rushdie wrote his memoir, Joseph anton. When we spoke at that time, he told me he was no longer interested in non-fiction. However, through his lectures, his essays and his interventions, he has remained engaged with reality, with what is not fiction. Even his novels, witnesses to the power of the imagination, are firmly anchored in the present moment: Fury (2001), which summarizes the New York zeitgeist before September 11, was actually published a few days before the attack on the Twin Towers; The golden house (2017) captured the anxiety of New York City during the Trumpian era, just as Quixote (2019) revealed an America torn apart by the opioid epidemic in the age of reality TV. Does he think that the border between fiction and non-fiction is no longer relevant?

Read also: What can horse history tell us about India today?

Fiction is and always will be my first love, Rushdie says, adding that “the line (between fiction and non-fiction) certainly exists, but like all borders, it can change this way and that. And as we know, many borders were arbitrarily drawn by the colonizers and many global unrest were the result. Borders are therefore worth questioning and perhaps even transgressed. Borders are there to be broken. “

Writers who ignore borders, crossing them as if they don’t exist, often become targets. They are harassed, intimidated, imprisoned, tortured and sometimes killed. Rushdie has been an unequivocal champion of PEN, which is celebrating its centenary this year, and has been instrumental in defending the freedom to write and the freedom to read (I chair PEN’s Prison Writers Committee International). I asked him about the continued relevance of PEN a hundred years later. With the culture of offense so prevalent, is the free speech argument a losing battle?

“As long as writers are persecuted, they will need to defend themselves and, unfortunately, this persecution will not be reduced,” he notes. “As long as writing is banned, we will have to fight for its release, and unfortunately those who want to ban things are more and more numerous. And frankly, we all need to stop being so skinny. Freedom of speech is not just for those who agree with us, or whose opinions we are indifferent to. Its essence is fearless disagreement.

But those in power feel the disagreement. Governments set the rules for what can be said. While the internet offered the hope of unlimited space, big tech even assumed the role of an executor, raising even more troubling questions. Should a business decide what to say or should it rely on safeguarding freedom of expression? No, Rushdie said. “Personally, I don’t think big tech is my arbiter. I am proceeding as I think best and it is probably the best way for all of us. I point out the misogyny, which has driven women away from social media. He is worried about such incivility: “All we can do is stand up against the kind of harassment and violence you are talking about. It is a battle we cannot afford to lose. The answers are not easy.

I finally ask questions about art – a subject he writes about with deep love. An important character in his 1995 novel, The Moor’s last breath, was an artist, Aurora Zogoiby, and the controversies created by her art foreshadowed the harassment of the late Maqbool Fida Husain in India. The artists reciprocated Rushdie’s deep interest: The National Portrait Gallery in London has Rushdie’s portrait of Bhupen Khakhar, called The land (1995). Did he ever wish to be a painter?

“I wish I had been,” he says. “And an actor, and a dancer, and an astronaut. But, alas, I am not. Some pictures are worth a thousand words; Rushdie’s thousands of words paint a rich landscape that shows us what makes us who we are.

Salil Tripathi is a New York-based writer.

Read also: ‘Still Life’: Anatomy of a Disappearance

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Casey Wardynski: President Biden, support Israel – not Iran – Yellowhammer News Fri, 28 May 2021 21:31:14 +0000

Last weekend, the U.S. Navy commissioned the USS Mobile (LCS 26), which was built at Austal USA’s world-class manufacturing facility in its namesake city.

The Independence variant littoral combat ship becomes the 16th ship that Austal has delivered to the Navy in the past five years. LCS 26 was delivered to the Navy at the end of 2020.

US Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) delivered the main address of the commissioning ceremony, by a Liberation of the Navy.

“The United States has been the greatest source of good in the history of the world and we will continue to be a force for good because of the brave men and women we have here today,” said Tuberville – a staunch supporter of Austal who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Guest speakers for the event also included Governor Kay Ivey, Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson and James Geurts – serving as Under Secretary of the Navy.

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London show highlights 5,000 years of Iranian art, design and culture Fri, 28 May 2021 16:36:52 +0000

TEHRAN – The Victoria and Albert Museum in London is hosting an exhibition on Iranian art, design and culture, which organizers say delves into the nation’s 5,000-year history.

Entitled “Epic Iran”, the show kicks off tomorrow with ten different sections, some of which are featured below. The organizers say the sections should transport visitors to “a city, with the gatehouse, the gardens, the palace and the library”.

The first section presents the “Land of Iran” with striking images of the country’s dramatic and varied landscapes – all of which have shaped the country’s social, economic and political history.

Some sections feature objects decorated with recurring animal and nature motifs, as well as figurines and everyday objects, including earrings and belt fragments, made from 3200 BC to the Achaemenid period. (circa 550-330 BC).

The fourth section, “The Last of Ancient Empires,” covers a period of dynastic change with Alexander the Great overthrowing the Persian Empire in 331 BC. This section features Parthian and Sassanid sculptures, stone reliefs, gold and silverware, coins, as well as Zoroastrian iconography.

The fifth section, “The Book of Kings”, is a prelude to the sections devoted to Islamic Iran. It shows how Iran’s long history before the advent of Islam was understood over the following centuries – primarily through the Shahnameh, or Book of Kings, which is the world’s greatest epic poem, supplemented by the poet Ferdowsi around 1010 CE.

Several exquisite Qurans and handwritten illuminations feature, alongside a prayer rug, battle and parade armor, a celestial globe and Iskandar Sultan’s magnificent Horoscope, were on display in the section.

Connecting the 1940s to the present day, the final section “Modern and Contemporary Iran” will cover a period of dynamic social and political change in Iran, encompassing the increase in international travel as well as political dissent, the Islamic Revolution of 1979, Iran from 1980-1988. -The war in Iraq and the establishment of the Islamic Republic.


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Amnesty International celebrates its 60th anniversary! | Scoop News Thu, 27 May 2021 23:19:00 +0000

Today we celebrate 60 years of Amnesty International!

A breathtaking film with Amnesty activists at five iconic locations around the world and dramatic art displays on celestial drones is released today to celebrate Amnesty International’s 60th anniversary.

An orchestral version of Peter Gabriel’s haunting human rights anthem “ Biko ” provides the soundtrack to the newly recorded voices of the gospel choir The Spirituals in London and Angelique Kidjo and Nazanin Boniadi, among others, provide the powerful narration of the poem “ Ode to Amnesty ” written especially by Bill Shipsey for the film and now translated into twenty languages.

“Freedom Flight”, a two-minute feature film produced by Art for Amnesty and Celestial, a cutting-edge drone art company, for Amnesty International France was shot on location at Plaza del Zócalo, Mexico City, at the Palace of Chaillot, in Paris, Sydney Opera House, Jama Masjid Mosque, New Delhi and across from Robben Island, Cape Town.

Peter Gabriel has incorporated the voice of “The Spirituals” who have come together over the past year under Covid-19 as a way to reclaim and celebrate black spirituals, songwriters and musicians. Due to time restrictions and Covid-19, the singers recorded individual tracks on their smartphones and sent them in for assembly last week.

Gabriel, Amnesty International’s ambassador of conscience and long-time champion of the human rights organization, said:

“It was a race against time but it was totally worth it. The Spirituals Choir is committed to telling stories of social justice and black history to a new generation that fits the inspiration behind Steve Biko’s story very well.

“Today more than ever, we need as many people as possible to start taking injustice personally and getting involved in any way we can. Amnesty has done an amazing job in the world which I believe has been really important and sustained for forty years. I was very happy to be asked to help me with this beautiful film. “

Iranian-born actress Nazanin Boniadi, star of the Homeland spy thriller series and currently filming for The Lord of the Rings in New Zealand, provides the English voiceover. She said:

“As an artist it is important for me to speak about freedom of expression and as a woman born in Iran I want to amplify the voices of courageous women who have been silenced, tortured, imprisoned and even killed. in my country. , simply for claiming their rights. Amnesty is calling their names and strengthening their voices, along with other disenfranchised groups around the world and I salute them for that.

“I am delighted to be able to contribute to this breathtaking film, marking a major milestone for Amnesty International, of which I am the ambassador.”

Four times winner of a Grammy Award and ambassador of conscience of Amnesty International, Angélique Kidjo, gives the voice over in French. She said:

“Amnesty’s work in campaigning for freedom of expression and for women and girls around the world to reach their full potential is close to my heart and may it continue for a long time.

“Biko’s soundtrack is an inspired choice, as Steve Biko’s struggle against apartheid inspired the African continent and beyond, and is just as relevant today.”

“I am honored to speak about this important film, which marks an important milestone for Amnesty International, just as I was honored to receive the Ambassador of Conscience Award from Amnesty International.”

Sylvie Brigot, Director of Amnesty International France, said:

“Amnesty International’s 60th anniversary is a milestone for the global movement and we are delighted to commemorate this moment with a truly global, groundbreaking and beautiful film. The stars in the sky around the world represent millions of activists around the world who make Amnesty International what it is today. And what better place to end the film than the Palais de Chaillot, where the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for which we all fight, was adopted? “

Bill Shipsey, founder of Art for Amnesty, who conceived the idea for the film, said:

“This film combining art, music, poetry and technology is a thank you and a testament to the contributions of the millions of Amnesty members present and past who have worked tirelessly for human rights over the past 60 years. that the film will inspire a new generation of activists to take action for human rights, become members of Amnesty International and support its important work. “

In the film, Amnesty activists “drop” lighted drones into the sky which join dozens of other lighted drones, representing Amnesty activists operating around the world. These lit drones then transform into an Amnesty dove designed by Picasso.

The giant dove then majestically flies over the place before finally transforming into an artistic representation of the iconic Amnesty candle in barbed wire above the Palais de Chaillot in Paris.

The final scene of the film shows Amnesty activists in South Africa looking into the camera, with the words – We Stand With Humanity on the screen.

An “Ode to Amnesty” written by Art for Amnesty founder Bill Shipsey presents the story of the film, telling the story of Amnesty International’s journey since its inception in 1961. The poem has been translated into twenty languages ​​to date, including French, Spanish and Arabic. , Mandarin, Russian, Portuguese, German, Farsi and Bengali, giving the film a truly global reach.

The first verse refers to the original six “forgotten prisoners” featured in an Observer article written by Amnesty International founder Peter Benenson on May 28, 1961. The second to Amnesty’s work in the 1970s to ensure the prohibition of torture. The third at Amnesty broadened its mandate from civil and political rights to also encompass economic, social and cultural rights in 2001. The fourth reflects the current strength of Amnesty with its 10 million members and supporters. And the fifth and final, is a call to action to attract new members and supporters.

Freedom Flight received the backing and support of Bono, The Edge and Peter Gabriel, as well as several sections of Amnesty International.

Celestial founders Nick Kowalski, Tony Martin and John Hopkins, who created this film, are proud to be involved in the project. They said:

“Celestial is built on strong ethical values. We want to use our technology for good and place messages of hope in the sky using our revolutionary creative technology. We believe in the cause of Amnesty and this project seemed to us to be there. ‘perfect opportunity to showcase our innovation and inspire people to stand up for human rights. “

You can also read more about 60 years of humanity in action.

© Scoop Media

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