Online art business brisk amid pandemic: gallery owner

April 3, 2021 - 19:2

TEHRAN – Lili Golestan, the owner of a major art gallery in Tehran, has said that her gallery quickly adapted to survive over the one-year-plus pandemic despite her preconception about virtual art showcases.

“Online exhibitions caused an increase in the number of Golestan Gallery’s customers,” she told the Persian service of Honaronline on Friday.

Following the detection of the first cases of the COVID-19 infection in the country in February 2020, Golestan canceled all its exhibits for about four months.

“We had our annual schedule and we did not know what to do. I asked the artists who were scheduled to showcase their artworks at our gallery if they were ready to display their artworks in virtual exhibitions. I was not very familiar with the virtual world, so I engaged in this type of business with some skepticism. I anticipated that it would not be successful, but despite my preconceptions, the online exhibitions really went well and were quite successful.”       

She said that her exhibitions had visitors from across the world.

“We even had customers from among Iranian expatriates living in Ireland, England, Germany, Japan, the U.S., France and Denmark, and it was amazing for me that those people who could not visit our exhibitions before were able to purchase artworks from our showcases,” Golestan noted.  

Nearly 95 percent of the customers were first-time artwork buyers of Golestan Gallery, which sent the purchased artworks to buyers free of charge. 

She said that some artists were in doubt about putting their artworks on display on an online exhibition. However, the results were entirely satisfactory for them.

Some artists like Arman Yaqubpur and Shamseddin Ghazi produced artworks in small sizes and at lower prices, which made them more appropriate for an online exposition, she added.

“I’m surprised that I had not previously investigated the virtual world and don’t know why I was so hesitant about it,” Golestan noted.

Golestan plans to continue its online exhibitions until the end of summer, however, she lamented about the difficulties she is having in organizing online programs in the country.

She said while the pandemic has caused enormous problems for many artists and ordinary people, she has experienced her most successful year of her career over the 32-year history of her gallery.  

The gallery organized a painting competition on coronavirus for children aged under 10 during the home quarantine in March 2020.

Siavash Vasei took first prize among the children above six, and Arad Eskandari won second prize. Third prize went to Ramtin Najmi.

Photo: An art aficionado visits a photo exhibition by Hesam Darvishpur at Golestan Gallery on June 7, 2019. (Honaronline/Saeid Rabiei)

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