The poem of Molana Djalaleddine Rûmi who accompanies me since my earliest childhood says:
"You are here to unite, not to separate"
And that's what makes me love all bridges, that of art in particular, hence the name Art Cantara.
"Art" is the universal language where everyone finds himself with no need to speak, translate or look for equivalents.
"Cantara" means bridge in Arabic.
Although of Persian origin, I chose a word in Arabic to designate this association. Indeed, like Latin in the Western world, the Arabic language federated the Eastern world.
Breaking stereotypes in general, mostly about women and about my Iranian sisters. Through the language of art, show their creativity, dynamism and modernity. This is how Art Cantara was born, this bridge that I do not want to be one way.
Let's get acquainted:
I arrived in Brussels, in Uccle,
on a rainy afternoon in September 1966.
At the time when I discovered, in the chapel, the paintings of Jesus covered in blood.
Before you discover, much later, the bloody faces of those who flog themselves for Ashura.
When my friends ate the body of Christ for their redemption.
Before you discover that the impure pig and the illicit alcohol pave hell!
At the time when people in the streets were alike.
At the time when the bus 38 cost 7 Belgian francs and where the Innovation department store burned.
At the time when Maurice Béjart was dancing "The Rite of Spring".
At the time when we still believed in the mysteries of the moon.
At the time when people believed my father owned an oil well.
Before the fears of Iran made you aware of Bushehr and Natanz.
At the time when watermelon was sold in small slices once a year.
Before you discover the flavour of world food.
At the time of Nutella, Treets and Choco Prince.
Before you discover saffron, coriander and pistachio.
At the time when we cared about the fabric that covered our legs.
Before discovering that we can do the same for the hair.
At the time when we went down the streets for peace.
Before we mobilize only by petition on the Internet.
At the time when we discovered injustice, inequality, humiliation, Palestine.
Before discovering, alas, that Palestine will be neither the first nor the last.
At the time when the Other was welcome.
Before we found that they are "too" numerous.
At the time when there was neither Us nor You.
Before we rediscover Khayyam, Rumi and Forough.
At the time when the journey to the East was a dream.
Before discovering the broken dream that has become the Orient.
At a time when the fear of the other was not the subject of all the speeches.
Before you discover "Where is the friend's home?"*
At the time when there were not two shores and where we did not think about bridges yet.
Before we realized we were all on the same BRIDGE.
*: film by Iranian filmmaker Kiarostami through which the world has discovered the new art of Iran.
The 2000s, Iran opens itself up, smiles are back on the faces, beauty can express itself.
After returning from a few trips during which I attended concerts and plays and visited art galleries all - strangely - held by women, my Belgian friends encouraged me to found an association to show this “other” image of Iran than the one conveyed by the media at the time.
Art Cantara, which has existed since 2001, has participated in several projects, as initiator, organizer or partner. Its fields of activity revolve around art, women, Iran.