‘Afghanistan cultural festival mirrors true picture of the country’

TEHRAN, June 23 (MNA) -- ECO Cultural Institute (ECI) director Hojjatollah Ayyubi called Afghanistan’s national cultural festival a mirror of a true picture of Afghanistan.

“The festival is a new phenomenon for those whose camera only captures war in Afghanistan,” Ayyubi mentioned during the opening ceremony of the festival on Tuesday.

The festival is currently underway at the Niavaran Cultural Center and will run until June 26.

Iranian Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Seyyed Mohammad Hosseini, deputy speaker of the Afghan parliament Ahmad Behzad and Afghanistan ambassador to Tehran Obaidullah Obaid are some of the other participants at the ceremony.

Ayyubi also pointed out the political situation of Afghanistan saying that the brotherhood between Iran and Afghanistan is permanent and temporal events do not have any effect on it.

At the ceremony, Afghanistan’s ambassador Obaid expressed his thanks over holding an exhibition for Afghan artists in Iran and hoped that the two countries extend relations in other fields as well.

“Afghanistan has faced war and crisis for three decades, however we hope that we can extend cultural and artistic activities between our countries,” he mentioned.

Next, Iranian culture minister Hosseini expressed his gratitude over the efforts of the ECO Cultural Institute which “proposed social communalities between two countries in the form of art.”

“We can introduce several luminaries like Rumi, Anvari, Khajeh Abdollah Ansari and Nasser Khosro through joint conferences,” he proposed.

He said that Iran would actively participate in programs in Ghazni as the cultural capital of Islamic civilization in 2013.

After that, deputy speaker of the Afghan parliament Ahmad Behzad spoke about the event saying that the festival gathered Afghan emigrants from all over Iran.

“Today we witness the gathering of artists who began with empty hands but with strong motivation to make their products become lasting artworks,” he added.

He said that Afghanistan needs youthful energy and young talented figures and artists should be recognized and followed.

Afghan Deputy Minister of Culture and Information Mohammad Mobarez Rashedi also spoke briefly at the event calling the festival an opportunity for Afghan artists to gather.

He said that there are no restrictions for writing and creating artworks in Afghanistan and everybody can write books and publish them in that country.

Artworks created by over 40 renowned Afghan artists and cultural figures are on display during the exhibition in different sections, including painting, drawing and carpet weaving.

The festival also features Afghanistan’s regional costumes and cuisines. Also during the event are Poetry nights and the screening of Afghan films, which take place on the sidelines.

The festival is cosponsored by the ECO Cultural Institute and the Afghanistan Embassy in Iran.

Photo: An Afghan woman fixes a burka on a mannequin at the Afghanistan cultural festival at Tehran’s Niavaran Cultural Center on June 21, 2011. (IRNA/Mostafa Qotbi)

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