Elsewhere / Places

Vita Zaman Visits Iran

On the long flight to the presently lonely country, which venerates poetry as the supreme human faculty, I re-read my favorite childhood book “Laili and Majnun by Ganjavi Nizami:

Love came and ransacked the house / And raised the sword of recklessness / It gave them sorrow and stole their hearts / Giving their hearts to each other / They lost their tranquility. / They fell prey to gossip / Their cover was torn in every way / Their secret heard in every alleyway.

Christina and I have landed in Tehran undercover in the appropriate local attire

Christina and I landed in Tehran undercover in the appropriate local attire

Our great hosts: Shirin Partovi Tavakolian and The Austrian Ambassador to The Islamic Republic of Iran Dr. Thomas M. Buchsbaum

Our great hosts: Shirin Partovi Tavakolian, director of Shirin Art Gallery and the Austrian Ambassador to The Islamic Republic of Iran, Dr. Thomas M. Buchsbaum

Teheran - the city, more surreal and glorious, than I have ever hoped to imagine

Tehran – a city more surreal and glorious than I ever hoped to imagine

Artist Azra Aghighi Bakhshayeshi

Artist Azra Aghighi Bakhshayeshi

The young painter Nasim Mirzaee and her husband in front of her work at Shirin Art Gallery

The young painter Nasim Mirzaee and her husband in front of her first solo show at Shirin Art Gallery

Amu Salim, a self taught painter; his drawings I could not resist

Amu Salim, a self-taught painter; I couldn’t resist his primal energy charged drawings

A detail from a drawing of "Elysium" series, pen on paper, 21 x 29 cm, 2011

A detail from a drawing of “Elysium” series, pen on paper, 21 x 29 cm, 2011 evokes a mythic tree of life

Hengameh Moammeri, a hip owner of <a href="http://www.homaartgallery.com/">Homa Art Gallery</a>, a trend setting space, in her office

Hengameh Moammeri, the hip owner of Homa Art Gallery, a trend setting space, in her office

Maryam Majd from Assar Art Gallery

Maryam Majd from Assar Art Gallery, one of the most internationally active spaces, had a lot to say…

Sadr- an epic bridge under construction

Sadr – an epic bridge under construction – a piece of land art or monument of propaganda to the future to come

I kept admiring Iranian women, the strength of their character -  an elegant lady taking a stroll on Valiasr, the longest street of the capital

I kept admiring Iranian women, the strength of their character – an elegant lady taking a stroll on Valiasr, the longest street of the capital

A portrait of a gallerist

A portrait of a legendary femme-fatale

Shahnaz Khonsari of Mah Art Gallery next to a painting by Maedeh

Shahnaz Khonsari of Mah Art Gallery next to a painting by Maedeh, a mid career female artist

Street fashion outside Azad Art Gallery

Street fashion outside the Azad Art Gallery, there are million ways to glam up the traditional dress

Architect Sara Faezy with a philosopher Nojan Komeyli at Azad Art Gallery

Architect Sara Faezy with a philosopher Nojan Komeyli at the Azad Art Gallery opening

Gallerinas of Silk Road Gallery : Shahed Saffari and Tala Vahabzadeh

Gallerinas of Silk Road Gallery : Shahed Saffari and Tala Vahabzadeh told me all about Iranian photography

Two grand dames of Iranian art world: Mina Etemad and Mandana Farahmand

Two grand dames of the Iranian art world: gallerists Mina Etemad and Mandana Farahmand

Artist Fereydoun Ave at the opening of his solo exhibition "Persian Spring"

Artist Fereydoun Ave at the opening of his solo exhibition “Persian Spring” at Khak Gallery kept it cool

Majid Biglari's exhibition at Aaran Art Gallery

Majid Biglari’s show at Aaran Art Gallery was one of the most impressive exhibitions in Tehran at that moment

Ehsan Rasoulof, director of Mohsen Gallery

Ehsan Rasoulof, director of Mohsen Gallery is a Renaissance man with an ambitious vision for local culture

An intervention into the exhibition on graphic design at Mohsen Gallery

I was pleasantly intrigued by this fragile intervention into the exhibition on the graphic design at Mohsen Gallery

Sara Reyhani and Christina Steibrecher in an animated conversation at Mohsen Gallery

Curator Sara Reyhani and Christina Steibrecher in an animated conversation about the younger generation of Iranian art and the most novel models of art distribution – VIENNAFAIR?

Iranian sweets- a pick me up before we hit the road for the downtown experience

Iranian sweets- a pick me up before we hit the road in search of the downtown experience

We parked close to the Esteghal hotel

We parked close to the Esteghlal hotel, a modernists monument in itself

Pimp my car

Pimp my car – Tehran and LA shares some similarities – you car is not just your crib, it is your business card

We have observed the youngsters of Tehran dating while waiting in the traffic jams of the city, thus the car you drive can make or break the romantic endeavors

We have observed the youngsters of Tehran dating while waiting in the traffic jams of the city, thus the car you drive can make or break the romantic endeavors

Farhad Azarin of Atbin Gallery with his stylish retro Jeep

Farhad Azarin of Atbin Gallery with his stylish retro Jeep

He mentions that as he grows older Al Pacino becomes a fascination

He mentions that Al Pacino becomes a fascination as much as the search for the best young artists

"Nose - job" surgery  is very popular in Iran, amongst men too

“Nose-job” surgery is a very popular cosmetic novelty in Iran and the men are not the exception to the rule

Art Fair? - bazar style

Art Fair? – “Bazar Style”

Austrian Ambassador's residency welcomes us with its full splendor

Austrian Ambassador’s residency welcomed us in its full splendor, Austro-Iranian style, complete with the exquisite Persian garden, one of the few remaining in the city

Glamourous guests arrived trough the "Backstage" entrance

The glamourous ladies arrived trough the “backstage” entrance in to the reception

A lavish dinner is staged in honor of Vienna Fair and its future Iranian participants

A lavish dinner is staged in honor of Austria, Vienna, Vienna Fair and its future Iranian participants

The photo

The night before leaving, I had a dream about buying a chador in an airport duty free shop… This means I will be back. We have art so that we may not perish by the truth. (Friedrich Nietzsche)

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