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New Exhibition From Iran to Visit America

Press Release

SOURCE: Meridian International Center

New Exhibition From Iran to Visit America at Meridian International Center First Cultural Exchange of its Kind in Decades

WASHINGTON, Feb. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- A new exhibition, A Breeze from the Gardens of Persia: New Art from Iran, will come to the United States this spring, opening at Meridian International Center in Washington, D.C., and then traveling to museums and arts centers throughout the country. The exhibition, a rich collection of approximately 85 works by 52 of Iran's fine contemporary artists, of whom approximately one-third are women, is the first major cultural exchange initiative of its kind to take place in decades.

Organized by Meridian in collaboration with the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, the exhibition is presented in the United States in cooperation with Search for Common Ground, a prestigious Washington-based organization that works globally on conflict resolution and has sponsored several academic interchanges between the U.S. and Iran. After a premier showing in Washington, A Breeze from the Gardens of Persia will go on a nationwide tour, organized and managed by Meridian's Traveling Exhibition Service.

The exhibition and its U.S. tour are made possible under a major grant from Exxon Mobil Corporation, with generous additional support from The Boeing Company, DaimlerChrysler AG, and The Starr Foundation, which was established by the founder of AIG.

The works in this groundbreaking exhibition have been carefully chosen in collaboration with Iranian curators from the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art and Tehran Arts University. The result is a stunning collection, which includes oils, acrylics, watercolors, collages, drawings, miniature paintings and calligraphy, most created over the past ten years. All works are on loan from individual artists or private galleries from Tehran and other cities in Iran. The influence of the rich Persian culture and its poetry on the contemporary art of Iran is a major theme. A handsome full color catalogue, with essays by both Iranian and American scholars, accompanies the exhibition.

A Breeze from the Gardens of Persia, which has received attention at high levels in both countries as a welcome step in cultural contact, is very much in the spirit of Iranian President Khatemi's idea for an international Dialogue of Civilizations, which officially began in January 2001.

``In keeping with President Khatemi's Dialogue of Civilizations, we want to show the American people the beauty and rich nature of contemporary Iranian art,'' said Lee R. Raymond, Chairman of ExxonMobil. ``Culture has always been an important hallmark of a nation's character, and these beautiful works will reveal an important and positive side of Iranian civilization to Americans.''

In announcing the exhibition, Meridian President Walter Cutler stressed that ``this new exchange project is in line with Meridian's mission to promote international understanding by building bridges between cultures. Art speaks a language transcending the political, economic and social barriers that divide nations and can be understood in the hearts and souls of people everywhere. It is our hope that this initiative, in which Meridian has been joined by Search for Common Ground and several prestigious American corporations, will help to lead the way to such increased understanding between the peoples of Iran and the United States.''

Following the Washington venue, A Breeze from the Gardens of Persia will begin its national tour. It will be on view at the Queens Library Gallery in Jamaica, New York from September 7 - November 9, 2001 and at the ArtsCentre of Plano, Plano, Texas from November 19, 2001 - January 11, 2002. Additional venues across the country are being arranged and will be announced. Artist and other exchanges are planned throughout the life of the exhibition.

A Breeze from the Gardens of Persia will be on view at the Meridian Galleries, 1624 Crescent Place, NW, Washington, D.C. from April 27 until July 15, 2001. A concert by Iranian pianist Ariana Barkeshli will be presented on May 7. Other ancillary programs are being planned in cooperation with Search for Common Ground. School and other special tours may be arranged by calling Meridian's Arts and Cultural Affairs Office at 202-939-5568.

For general information on the exhibition and its tour, call 202-939-5518 or check Meridian's web site at http://www.meridian.org .

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