Interview with Anahita Ghabaian, founder of the Silk Road Gallery of Tehran

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Anahita Ghabaian Etehadieh

We had the chance to talk to Anahita Ghabaian Etehadieh who lives in Tehran now. She founded in 2001 the famous art gallery in Tehran: The Silk Road Gallery. Here is our inspired and creative interview, from Tehran to Paris.

Persiennes : Hi Anahita! What was your goal in 2001 when you created the gallery?

Anahita Ghabian : When in 2001 I’ve created The Silk Road Gallery, the overall context was way different than today in Iran. We were very few who wanted to expose contemporary Iranian artists.We exposed photographs showing their vision of a“today”Iran in their pieces. Our first exposition was one of the cineast Abbas Kiarostami and it has been a tremendous success. At The Silk Road we choose to show really different and eclectic artist-photographs: for us artistic photography is a direct expression as it speaks to the public of the Iranian social intimacy. Different, as you know from the “outside”, and we give to the pubic to see to the outside. We have a sort of commitment in our choice of photographs. Actually, we don’t want to do only ultra aesthetic, even if, this aesthetic does exist, we want to give a sense to our exhibitions.

Persiennes : who was the last artist you exposed?

A.G : Mehdi Vosoughnia, a photographer who chose to show the vanishing of the collective memories of Iran. He shows through his shots public and private spaces which disappeared, without being replaced by anything. Here, it is the fear of disappearing places in Iran that we wanted to point out.

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Mehdi Vosoughnia – Silk Road Gallery

Persiennes : recently, you’ve organized a special exhibition “The Secrets of Eternity” in Tehran City Center, around major Persian poet Khayyâm. Could you tell us about this project?

A.B : Yes, The Secrets Of Eternity came from our wish to create a link between Iran’s history, its past and today’s Iran with its contemporary artists who have interpreted there vision of Omar Khayyâm. This exposition was a great success, as even the official Iranian press, who generally don’t speak so much about us, was there. The participants were artists, producers, painters and drawers like Abbas Kiarostami, Farshid Mesqali,Pariyoush Ganji…

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Omar Khayaam – Silk Road Gallery

Persiennes : What do you show about the nowadays Iran?

A.B : First, we have a clear will: we want to show and reveal the Iranian society as it is now. It means in its whole duality, in its complexity: tradition and modernity, everyday disruptions and contrasts. We want to report those small infos that the Iranian society produces everyday.

Persiennes : What would you say about the links between Paris and Tehran at The Silk Road Gallery?

A.B : The truth is, there are fundamentals differences between the two cities. But with time going by, I realize that I truly belong to both. I’ve lived for a long time in Paris, and I know all the cultural and aesthetic codes in Paris, as I know those of Tehran. I realize more and more also that I couldn’t live elsewhere, I wouldn’t be able to live in L.A or London for instance. They are not made for me. I am always playing the French and Iranian codes, and you can feel it I guess in the Gallery.

Persiennes : last news is that The Silk Road will be at the Art Paris on March 31st. What can you tell us about this new exhibition to come?

A.B : Well, during Art Paris we will show contemporary Iran with a special selection of  famous Iranian artists like Shadi Ghadirian, Newsha Tavakolian, Jalal Sepehr, Babak Kazemi, Ebrahim Noroozi, Bozorgmehr Hosseinpour, Tahmineh Monzavi and Hooman Mehdizadehjafari. Each of them will take you to different worlds and time spaces. They will speak with their pictures, sculptures, caricatures of an Iran of yesterday and today.

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Thank you Anahita !

Here is a selection of some artists from the Silk Road Gallery we love:

Check the Silk Road Gallery for all the infos!