Officials call on artists to retract withdrawals from Fajr festivals

January 14, 2020 - 18:44

TEHRAN – Top officials of the Fajr festivals, which Iran organizes every year during February to celebrate the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, have asked Iranian artists to retract their decisions to withdraw from the festivals.

Iranian artists in groups and singles have withdrawn from the Fajr festivals over the past few days to express their sympathy with the families of those people killed in the unintentional downing a Ukrainian plane by Iran last week. 

In separate statements published on Tuesday, Fajr International Theater Festival director Nader Borhani Marand and Visual Arts Office director Hadi Mozaffari have invited the artists back to the festivals.

Borhani Marand asked the theatrical figures to put aside the little differences and stay with the organizers of the event.

“We are all passing through hard days now, grieving over the loss of our dear ones,” he wrote in the statement.

“The organizers of the Fajr theater festival, as in other years, have asked the artists and theatrical figures to take part in the event to share and display pain, hope and even despair with the audience,” he added.

“The festival is a place for talented youth to come and showcase their new art and talent, although some have decided to withdraw, there are troupes that would like to continue and participate,” he noted.

“Feel assured that we all have one common ideal, and that is the exaltation of the art and culture of this land, and serving our respected people,” it adds

The 38th Fajr International Theater Festival will take place in Tehran from January 30 to February 9.  

In addition, Mozaffari did not accept the resignation of Ebrahim Haqiqi, the secretary of the 12th Fajr Festival of Visual Arts.

Haqiqi and the jury members and organizers have all resigned from the festival, which is scheduled to be held at the Tehran Permanent International Fairgrounds from February 12 to 19. 

In his statement, Mozaffari said that the festival as a national event is a trustee of the artworks and will be held appropriately with due consideration of the country’s public atmosphere.

“I should say that we understand his (Haqiqi’s) concern over the great loss of our dear ones, and I must say that we are all grieving these days,” he wrote. 

“When a disaster happens, the presence of the veterans is a therapy for the disaster, and today we need master Haqiqi and the great masters of art, including the directors and the jury members, more than at any other time. This is why the resignation is not accepted,” he added.

On Saturday morning, the Armed Forces General Staff released a statement noting that human error in an air defense mistakenly targeted the Ukrainian passenger plane near Tehran’s Imam Khomeini Airport. 176 people on board lost their lives.

The incident happened a few hours after Iran attacked a U.S. base inside Iraq by with a dozen missiles in retaliation for the assassination of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad.

Photo: This combination photo shows Visual Arts Office director Hadi Mozaffari (L) and Fajr International Theater Festival director Nader Borhani Marand.

RM/MMS/YAW

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