The 15th edition of the Fajr Festival of Visual Arts opened on Friday evening at the Saba Art and Cultural Institute in Tehran.
440 artworks in the categories of painting, illustration, cartoon, photography, calligraphy, graphic design, sculpture and miniature are competing for Golden Tooba in the official section.
In addition, 274 works in different categories have been showcased in Qolleha (Tops), a competitive section for veteran artists.
Winners in each category will also be awarded a 300 million rials (about $720 based on Iran’s free-market exchange rate: $1 = over 420,000 rials) prize money.
The winners of honorable mentions will be given 100 million rials prize money.
Works from the non-competitive sections of the festival are also on view at major galleries in the capitals of 32 provinces across the country.
“The organizers have done their best to decentralize the festival,” Mostafa Zaravandian, the director of the festival’s provincial exhibitions, said last week during a press conference.
Works by 12 artists from each province are on display in each provincial capital, he added and noted that this movement may help find promising young artists in different media.
Speaking to journalists at the opening ceremony of the festival, Deputy Culture Minister for Artistic Affairs Mahmud Salari said that he has previously entered talks with the country’s major art universities to have their collaboration in the event.
“Therefore, students and academics are playing key roles in organizing this year’s festival,” he added.
In calls published on social media, groups of artists have asked their colleagues to boycott the festival in support of the protest organized against the Iranian government in autumn.
Salari accused these groups of exerting pressure on other artists to get them to withdraw from the festival and said that their acts restrict the freedom of action of other artists.
The event is one of the Fajr festivals, which are organized every year in January and February to celebrate the Islamic Revolution anniversary.
The 15th edition of the Fajr Festival of Visual Arts will run until February 17, while winners will be honored in a special ceremony on February 24.
By TEHRAN TIMES