The Great Game: Iran Pavilion at 56th Venice Biennale

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The 56th Venice Biennale, visualised by Okwui Enwezor, kicked off on 6th May, with beautiful sunny skies and calm waters. Venice sees its highest rate of visitors this time of year with movers and shakers of the art world coming together to attend one of the most prestigious and most talked about events.

The Great Game was an ambitious inaugural project for the organisers, who took on board the Iran Pavilion with over 40 artists participating from Iran and neighbouring countries including India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Central Asian Republics and the Kurdish Region, a mass multi media exhibition came together in the old quarters of Venice; commissioned by Majid Mollanorouzi and Deputy Commissioners and co-curators: Marco Menguzzo and Mazdak Faiznia and organised by the Faiznia Family Foundation (FFF) and the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art.

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As you walk in, the large space is conveniently compartmentalised and sectioned off by simple white sheets and you are greeted by the show stopping work of Paksitani artist T.V.Santhosh, Effigies of Turbulent Yesterdays. Installations go on to encircle the labyrinth which then take you off into the surrounding rooms of sizeable artworks, video installations, sculptures and content.

Canto III & Space Junk by Wafaa Bilal

 

With a wide range of both emerging and established artists, the show included works of artists such as the late Farideh Lashai, a first participation in the Venice Biennale, and Mahmoud Bakhshi Moakhar, who previously exhibited in the 55th Venice Biennale at the Central Asian Pavilion in 2013. Guests were also treated to viewing works by internationally acclaimed artists from Iraq, such as Wafaa Bilal’s gold sculpture Canto III and the digital Space Junk, and those by Kurdish artists Walid Siti’s Mosaic of Little World, Azad Nanakeli’s video work, Au (Water) and Jamal Penjweney.

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Talk Cloud by Mahmoud Bakhshi Moakhar

 

The Great Game is currently showing until November 22nd, 2015. There is great hope and incentive to see more collaboration amongst the current sponsors, curators, collectors and artists from the show with those from the neighbouring region to further evolve this important and unique cultural exchange and dialogue.

For more information on The Great Game and the full list of participating artists visit Faiznia Foundation’s website.

Nina Mahdavi   Contributor
Nina is the founder of Caspian Arts Foundation. You can follow her on Instagram @nina.mahdavi
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