In late October we met with one of the volunteers, Costas Sarkas, at one of UKIFF’s networking events, to find out what it was all about.
The exhibition is a series of engaging portraits around the symbolism of the union jack with all its connotations. The photos are accompanied by statements and both promote a questioning of our ideas of what it means to be British now.
Venturing around Iran and Afghanistan with a copy of the Shahnameh tucked under his arm, Nicholas Jubber relates what this pivotal introduction taught him about modern people who still love this medieval text.
Jubber explains how The Shahnameh, or Persian Book of Kings, is still very much alive today for many people, even 1000 years after it’s completion.
His book certainly has it’s own style and he visited the Resonance104.4FM studios to explain certain points: from beards to butchers to free motorbikes.
This show was originally broadcast on 2nd August, 2010
The Shahnameh or Persian Book of Kings, is an enormous poetic opus written by Ferdowsi a Persian poet, around 1000 AD. Despite it’s age the book is still the national epic of the cultural sphere of Greater Persia. Consisting of around 60,000 verses, the Shahnameh tells a mythical and historical tale of Greater Iran, from the creation of the world until the Islamic conquest of Persia in the 7th century.
The work is of central importance in Persian culture, we had a look at it on our show about the book Drinking Arak off an Ayatollah’s Beard. While regarded as a literary masterpiece, and definitive of ethno-national cultural identity of Iran the book is still quoted today by everyone from the illiterate to members of the government, and is the topic of many a puppet show and street theatre. It is also important to the contemporary followers of Zoroastrianism and deals with central themes of good and evil. It’s a real treasure.
Charles Melville, Professor of Persian History at University of Cambridge discusses the show and it surrounding events.
The interview is interspersed with extracts from a talk given by Charles Melville at the Fitzwilliam Museum gallery where the illuminations and pieces are on show.
If you are interested in the book and its wider influence outside of Iran there is currently a show at Prince’s Galleries Charlotte Street (nearest tube Old Street). Amongst others Russian, Pakistani and Iranian artists respond to the Shahnameh (or Shahnama as it’s known in India) as part of their own cultural painting traditions. Six Pillars host Fari Bradley also has a sound piece on display there until mid December.
To mark Children in Need Week Dr Helen Nejad from the NGO Iran Children’s Charity visits the studio to discuss their drive to raise money for kids in Iran. Focusing mainly on orphans, those without national status or on the streets, the charity aims to supply two university hospitals in Iran that treat children specifically.
‘In Search of Simorgh‘ is Iran Children’s Charity’s first fund-raising event, a Persian Heritage music and contemporary and traditional dance theatrical performance. The performance is based on 12th Century Sufi classic Conference of the Birds by Farid Uddi Attar, and also loosely on the stage adaptation by Peter Brook and Jean-Claude Carriere. Musicians from Europe play cello, kamanche, tar, santoor, daf and percussion and 7 dancers interpret the text so that there is no language barrier to enjoying the performance.
If you would like to help children in need by simply being entertained, then please complete and return the attached form, or book your ticket online through their event website www.insearchofsimorgh.com The event is hosted by Kids Company founder Camila Batmanghelidjh.
Logan Hall, 20 Bedford Way , London WC1H 0AL
Sunday 21st November
18:00 to 22:00 (programme starts at 19:00)
All funds raised from donations, ticket and raffle sales will be used to purchase Keyhole surgical and other operating theatre equipment for Mofid and Ali Asghar Children Hospitals. Their target over the years is a minimum of £30,000 per hospital for the equipment. Your contribution can really help to save lives of children who undergo operations, facilitate quicker recovery for many more, as well as bringing relief and a smile to their siblings and families.
Feel free to contact them by visiting www.iran-children-charity.org
Read her speech from the night on the above link, a speech that contained the quote by Jimi Hendrix who said, “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”.
Her Sufi website.
Here is some of the event write-up:
Ammat un Nur belongs to a lineage named Chishti-Inayati. (We are supposed to know automatically what that lineage is, I guessed it had something to do with renowned Sufi school rather than an individual). She has also been influenced by the Mevlevi tradition originating from Mevlana Rumi (you’re supposed to know that is the same Rumi, the Sufi poet). Her work involves researching, writing on the Inayatian legacy of the Sufi Orders. (I had no idea what that was).
The debate took the form of a panel, mostly of women, who put forward a speech or an intro and then took questions. One aspect of the write-up that really caught my eye was the promise of a look at the neglect of the feminine in Islam. there is a feminist branch or movement in Islam. I wanted to know what a woman’s role was considered to be in Sufism, as in Iran, in the mountains, some all female Sufi orders do exist….
If the title of the podcast has aroused your curiosity and you are interested in this kind of study, here a SOAS course that could be for you.
You will have to pay a lot mind, to study. If you go to stay with Ammat, your studies will be free. There’s food for thought.
This podcast was made for the ResonanceFM series Six Pillars to Persia by Fari Bradley – the show is a weekly look at the Iranian diaspora, the culture of Iran, Persian heritage and related topics.
Artist Parastou Forouhar on the eve of the launch of her solo show both at Leighton House (once home to Frederic Lord Leighton) and at Rose Issa Projects, Kensington.
An installation, prints and cloth make up the show, as well as a new series based on the idea of the Papillion.
Curator Rose Issa also contributes to the discussion as Parastou discusses her work through the years and her current exhibition.
An interview with Professor Annabelle Sreberny on the launch of the new Centre for Iranian Studies at SOAS (the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London).
Prof. Sreberny discusses the aims, purpose and interests of the new centre and explains how it came into being.
Launch Event 16 October 2010, 10:00 AM-9:30 PM
The Centre for Iranian Studies will showcase the range of academic research and teaching across the disciplines of SOAS, including History, Economics, Politics, Literature, Music, Art and Media Studies. It will organise lectures, seminars and conferences, and to both showcase and foster the best of contemporary Iranian talent through film screenings and events.
Launch Tickets: £15, £10 of £5 conc.
Contact: email@example.com 020 7898 4490
An interview with award winning artist Mahmoud Bakhshi as he begins his three day residency and prepares for his historic solo show at Saatchi Gallery. The interview is translated by curator Vali Mahlouji, one of the people who nominated Mahmoud for the Magic of Persia Contemporary Arts Prize (MOPCAP) in the first place.
Mahmoud Bakhshi draws inspiration for his works from the political and social issues that surround him. Born in Tehran, Iran, he is a graduate of the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Tehran, and has exhibited internationally since 2006. Mahmoud is also supported by the Delfina Foundation.
First broadcast on Sept 20th 2010 from ResonanceFM studios
Both previous guests on the show in ’06/7 two artists discuss their latest works and exhibits.
Neda Dana-Haeri’s duo show with Virginia Waterhouse is called “Light Dreams” at A&D Gallery, Chiltern Street. Watercolours and abstraction refer to sufism and poetry in Dana-Haeri’s work. We speak on location at the Church Street project detailed below.
Bahbak Hashemi-Nezad discusses aubergines and the architecture of a community in his Serpentine supported work Anatomy of a Street. Anatomy of A Street is a research project organised by the Hungarian Cultural Centre in conjunction with the London Festival of Architecture 2010 and will run at Church Street, NW8 from Friday 25th June to Sunday 4th July (when the Church Street Festival takes place).
The project will bring new visitors to Church Street and encourage them to find out about the area and the various changes over the last 20/30 years and Audio Tour compare these changes with those that have taken place at a similar high street in Pecs, Hungary (European Capital of Culture 2010).
This show was originally broadcast on June 28th 2010 from the ResonanceFM studios, London.