Iranian art galleries urge government support in COVID-19 era

July 20, 2020 - 19:1

TEHRAN – Owners of several art galleries in Iran have asked the government to support them during the hard days of the coronavirus pandemic.

They expect the government to purchase artworks or extend loans to them so that they can continue their activities, or else they believe art and the artists will face irreparable losses.

Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance canceled all art, cultural and cinematic events across the country in February in an attempt to stem coronavirus’ spread.

Art galleries across Iran were allowed to resume activities since April 20 after an over two-month shutdown due to the new coronavirus pandemic.

However, gallery owners prefer to continue the lockdown since there are no visitors, buyers, or dealers.

The director of Diba Gallery in the central Iranian city of Isfahan has said that she has shut down the gallery for one year and plans to hold only online exhibits.

“Isfahan is not in a good condition these days with the rapid spread of coronavirus and even the galleries, which are open to visitors have only a few visitors,” Mahnaz Javadi said.

“Diba Gallery is located in an old building in the city and we had to pay a large sum of money for its repair after a hard rain this year, and these on and off exhibits cannot compensate,” she added.

She added that she has changed the gallery’s schedule and therefore, its two upcoming exhibitions will go online. She is planning to promote the exhibits on the pages of several active artists and gallery owners on social networks.

She asked the government to support the gallery owners through loans or else they will have big problems.

Nazanin Asgharzadeh, the executive director of the Mah Gallery in Tehran, has also said that she believes nothing can replace the attendance of visitors at galleries and museums, however, organizing virtual exhibits is a breakthrough these days.

“The spread of coronavirus made all careers seek new methods to continue their activities, and galleries were no exception and have continued their activities through podcasts and virtual exhibits,” she said.

“Mah gallery also resumed activity after the Culture Ministry allowed galleries to reopen observing health protocols. Of course, we do not hold opening ceremonies and art aficionados also visit the exhibits by appointment only,” she noted. 

She added that the number of visitors has decreased, and the artists who have spent one or two years to create their collections prefer to hold their exhibits at a time when there can be opening ceremonies with good number of visitors.

Photo: Artworks are on display at a Tehran gallery. (File photo)

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