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Rhapsody in Isfahan

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Mohammad Ghaderian

In historic city of Isfahan, where whispers travel across centuries and echoes of caravans resonate through the bustling bazaars, Didar Art Gallery hosted an exquisite symphony of connections in the end week of May. As we stood before these diverse expressions in a world where walls rise, we were reminded that humanity cuts across artificial lines.

‘Symphony of Life’ weaved approximately 57 threads from 20 countries, including Morocco, South Korea, Pakistan, Norway, Taiwan, India, Lithuania, Austria, Mexico, Singapore, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Iran, Turkey, UK, Germany, Italy, France, Netherlands and US, into a diverse and rich tapestry. The exhibition became a strong cultural conduit between nations aimed to highlight commonalities and acknowledge differences, providing a unique opportunity for the interaction and coexistence of identities. ‘Symphony of Life’ behaved as a living archive; although works were presented as prints, attendees were eager to see the originals. Each work transcended mere physicality encompassing its creator’s transformation, rebellion, and growth.

Identity is the sum of our aspirations, it is not solitary; one of the standout aspects of this exhibition was its scope which had a profound impact on the dialogue between civilizations. ‘Symphony of Life’ emphasized art as a language that has always played a key role in promoting democracy. The performances of traditional Iranian music, Eastern music, and a fusion of Iranian, Western, and Eastern instruments were another highlight, creating empathy and joy. This cultural initiative has been one of the significant events in recent years in Isfahan, garnering positive international attention. More truly, progress is collective and humans thrive in shared histories.

Rhapsody in IsfahanL’ART International Group founded by Abdolreza Rabeti in 2019, comprises Iranian and international artists chatting via messenger and emails to make such cultural exchanges a reality. Today, we stand on the precipice of change, which warrants new inquiries and an expanded capacity for critical thinking. At such junctures, there has been a natural inclination towards connecting with people outside the conventional systems for which platforms (tools) have been repurposed throughout history, and these adaptations continue to redefine our planet.

‘Symphony of Life’ presents Isfahan’s legacy as the shared breath of people, where artists have debated philosophy in gardens and poets have penned verses under arches – all linked in humanity’s quest for freedom to express and connect. It is hoped that in the current tense and war-torn climate, dialogue among nations and people through art will serve as a balm for pain and suffering, generating space for peace and empathy.

Sohrab Sepehri writes for the exhibition:

زندگی درک همین اکنون است

life is understanding of now

زندگی رسم خوشایندی است

a pleasant custom

زندگی چیزی نیست که لب طاقچه عادت از یاد من و تو برود

not something that can be forgotten by you and me

زندگی راز بزرگی است که در ما جاری ست

a great mystery that flows in us

زندگی فاصله آمدن و رفتن ماست

interval of our coming and going

زندگی وزن نگاهی است که در خاطره ها می ماند

the weight of life is a look that remains in memories

زندگی تر شدن پی در پی، زندگی آب تنی کردن در حوضچه اکنون است

getting more alive successively, is the life of bathing in the pond, now

زندگی صحنه زیبای هنرمندی من و تو است

a beautiful, artistic scene, of me and you

هرکس نغمه خود خواند و از صحنه رود

everyone sings his/her song and leaves the stage

This is an articulated opinion of Mohammad Ghaderian, a prominent figure in the visual arts, master painter and recognised art critic. He has collaborated with Iranian museums on book projects and research initiatives. With multiple solos and publications in academic journals under his belt, Ghaderian is currently leading the research group of Isfahan Painters Association.

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