Saturday 25 February 2012

In Lagos, Iran celebrates 33 years of revolution, with art

By Tajudeen Sowole
 The current crisis faced by Iran over its nuclear energy enrichment programme has not prevented the commemoration of its over three decades old revolution, which was the thematic focus of an exhibition held in Lagos recently.
  HELD at the National Museum, Onikan, Lagos, to mark Iran’s 33 years old revolution, the exhibition featured art, craft, books and film.
  Shortly before the exhibition opened,
the Cultural Counselor, Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in Lagos, Mr. Seyed Bagher Seyed Jawadi, said the works on display, represent making a trip through Iran while in Nigeria.
  Noting that Nigeria and Iran share similar diversity among each country’s nationals, the exhibition, he argued, had one or two things to offer Nigerians in the quest for unity.
  According to him, the show offers what can be described as “life experiences through art and exchange with different cultural works, which is the main reason for holding this exhibition here in beloved Nigeria.”
 The Director-General of National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM), Mallam Yusuf Abdallah Usman noted that the exhibition is very important “because culture has helped the people of Iran understand each other, considering that they are from the same region, but have different mentalities and level of economic development.”
  Usman argued that for the country’s history of about seven thousand years, Iran is an incredible place to visit. “It would be well worth seeing as its diversity of landscapes, monuments, customs, and lifestyles make Iran attractive in any season.” About one million historical sites exist in Iran, according to the country’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organisation.
  Such quality in heritage and cultural value, he noted, would reflect in the exhibition.

Cultural Counselor, Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in Lagos, Mr Seyed Bagher Seyed Jawadi (left) showing his hosts the D-G of NCMM, Mallam Usman, former curator of National Museum, Onikan, Lagos, Ronke Ashaye and Ag Curator, Vickie Agili some works during the on exhibition
  The show, Usman explained must be recognised as comprising technical values, knowledge, science and skills upon which the current identity of the Iranian people is based, serving as a lunch-pad for economic growth and social cohesion.”
  He noted that culture plays a crucial role in strengthening peaceful co-existence among nations. “Cultural dialogues in all their diversities play an essential role as agents of global development and peaceful co-existence; to promote dialogues among cultures and civilizations across states and nations.” The show, he insisted would provide “backgrounds for the revival of cultural and bilateral agreement between Nigeria and Iran.”
  Indeed, the show was a source of education on Iranian art. For example, in the art and book sections, a catalogue of 2nd Biennial of Islamic World Paintings themed Mirror of Sight was on display. Works in the catalogue show that art is universal, irrespective of cultural difference.
  For Iranian art, which dwells more on abstraction and subtle figurative, the dynamics of conceptuality across the genres such as paintings, installations and sculptures, as viewed via the works on display, underscores the country’s cultural value that is opened to all.
   Iranian art exhibition appears to have found a place in the art calendar of Lagos as it holds regularly every year. This much, the Acting Curator of the National Museum, Vickie Agili acknowledged when she recalled that “this is the seventh year that the Iranian Embassy has been partnering with the Lagos Museum to celebrate the Iranian Revolution.”
  She added, “we are celebrating the culture which unites the people of Iran.”
 However, Jawadi lamented that the exhibits were not as rich as he would have liked. He explained: “it was because of long distance between Nigeria and Iran, which makes it difficult to deliver more contemporary Iranian works.”

Mallam Usman and visiting pupils, during the exhibition

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