Iran: We Will Put American Art Treasures on Display

I am sure this interest among cultures can be a way for the artists of the world to present the best mankind has to offer to each other. We are peaceful people and have gifts for the people of the world, like the words of [poet Jalal ad-Din] Rumi and paintings of Kamal Al-din Behzad. I know your kind nation can look at my nation with peace and love. The only wish that I have is that the two nations look at each other meaningfully. I do not mean to be too political, but I remember the morning that I saw the bitter incident of 9/11. I was with my family, my wife, my daughter and my son -- all of whom are painters -- we were eating breakfast. It was like at single moment our hearts all stopped. Then we see innocent people throwing themselves down from the top of the world. How can I explain this bitterness and the fact that we shared this pain and suffering? And just as your nation cried over this tragedy, our people cried as well.

How would you describe the modern art scene in Iran and its role within modern life here, in this country? Particularly as a form of personal expression?

After the revolution, the younger generation of Iranian artists desired to define their own identity and their position in our current world. They didn't want to be mere consumers of the experiences and knowledge of others.

Over the past few years, in different cultural activities such as cinema and drama, there has been a very strong presence. As the famous painters of the world such as Pollock, Picasso, Van Gogh, Gauguin, etc. have given the contemporary world so many gifts, the great Iranian painters such as Kamaleddin Behzad and Sultan Muhammad give the world beautiful expression and meaning.

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