Seyhoun Gallery, the oldest working art gallery in Iran is in the danger of closing after 44 years.
The owner of the building has been pushing for the closure of the gallery since the founder Masoumeh Seyhoun’s death last May, in hopes of turning the gallery into a restaurant.
Seyhoun’s children, especially Nader Seyhoun, have been trying to negotiate with the landowner to come up with a fair price in order to purchase the gallery. However, the owner has not been cooperating and raised the rent significantly, therefore, the case was taken to court.
If the court ruling does not permit for the preservation of the gallery, the gallery could be closed forever, according to Nader Seyhoun “The owner has every right to claim his property but it is vital to take into account the significance of this historical place to Iran’s contemporary art,” he said.
Maryam Seyhoun, the daughter of late Masoumeh Seyhoun and owner of Seyhoun Gallery in Los Angeles mentioned how her mother asked to not let the light of the gallery die even after her death. “This gallery belongs to all the people of Iran and should be preserved as a historical site,” said Maryam Seyhoun.
Several Iranian artists have signed a petition asking the Culture and Higher Education Ministry to persuade the owner to not close down the gallery.
“The foot steps of Iranian artists from Sohrab Sepeheri to Mokarameh Ghanbari can be heard though the walls of this gallery, and the demolition of this gallery means the demolition of the national and artistic identity of this country,” said one of the artists, Ahmad Nasrollahi.
As of now the fate Seyhoun Gallery remains unclear, but all the artists and people who have lived with this gallery will be pushing to save it.