TEHRAN –(Iranart)-On days when other countries have provided free corona vaccines to help their people, here Iran, People are still waiting for the flu vaccine at the end of this fall. In such obvious discrimination, I was reminded of this poem by Houshang Ebtehaaj – Sayeh – (Shadow, his nickname): 'I am in this corner that is out of the world, sky! Not above my head, spring! Not in my news…'
Chief Editor of Iranart News, released his opinion based on Iranian artists aggregation protest: On days when other countries have provided free corona vaccines to help their people, here Iran, People are still waiting for the flu vaccine at the end of this fall. In such obvious discrimination, I was reminded of this poem by Houshang Ebtehaaj – Sayeh – (Shadow, his nickname):
'I am in this corner that is out of the world,
sky! Not above my head,
spring! Not in my news…'
Undoubtedly, this is the true of the Iranian people life, of course, today's art and precious artists' life too. It is the time when the nation is looking to the government to open the way of salvation in the most critical days that man has seen. But even Iranian candidates of parliament that have been famous in speech therapy, denied to do as usual, what a failed expectation for real and visible support.
During Corona, theatre community, who were more active than others, made their voices heard in the media, accompanied by The Theatre House from the statement to the collection of signatures and the series of protest interviews. But they did not achieve anything to improve the situation, and with the closure of at least two private theaters, it became clear that the domino of limiting the Iranian art space for various reasons, especially economic bankruptcy, was seriously ahead.
Music, visual and cinema artists ... also have no color on their faces, and their single protest interviews show that their condition is deteriorating. For music and cinema, the workspace is completely closed, and for visual artists, the creation of works of art has become impossible with the incredible increase in the price of raw materials for the creation of art works!
Yes, art is under pressure all over the world, but the Iranian artist has bent under the coronary pressure for two reasons:
First, art wages in Iran are very low, and a wide range of the art community, such as freelancers, have no income if there is not a project. For example, if Broadway, the economic hub of New York City Performing Arts, announces that it will close all 41 theater halls by at least May 30, 2021, the majority of its cast members, in addition to the usual grants, have enough savings to cover.
Secondly, according to the narrations that you will read in the continuation of this article, the artistic community of the countries that have art, enjoying the purposeful and wide-range support of the governments and however, Iranian artists still do not recognize their art as a profession therefore naturally, they do not have the benefits of unemployment benefits or proper insurance.
Reviewing examples of other countries' support for artists in the Corona period, while it can refresh my heart and yours, it reminds the depth of tragedy that we are experiencing together:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a video message to the culture and arts community on May 10, 2020, that her government would build a "crossing bridge" for artists and cultural activists to cross the Corona days.
According to Deutsche Welle, she assured that in the current difficult situation, the German government wants to provide a ground for women and men artists to be able to pay the rent for the places they have rented for exhibiting activities, and also because of the cancellation of programs and not having enough income, German government will support them directly.
She announced that: "I know now is a very, very difficult time for you. Our citizens are waiting for you to enjoy your live programs again, but until that day, the government will support you in these relief programs wherever it is needed, and with these supports, we show how important you are to us."
You are probably agree with me that the Chancellor's words are like riding on clouds, and if we sigh deeply, it is not going so far! But let me share with you another bitter smile!
Two or three months ago, The BBC reported that a 50% discount will be given to customers from Monday to Wednesday as part of the British government's plan to support restaurants, cafes and bars and to encourage people to go to restaurants.
This discount was up to 10 pounds (about 340 thousand Tomans in our currency today) per person, and of course it did not include the cost of alcohol and was an incentive plan for cafes.
Here, too, I agree with you that it seems somewhere in the world, people of culture and art are being pampered! And probably the Iranian officials know that we cannot stand this amount of happiness!
Just beyond London, Liverpool City Council announced a $ 200,000 grant to support creative artists whose art has been damaged more than any other by the Corona virus.The council has offered money to about 50 cultural institutions and independent artists to bring their artwork to the city's central streets with the hope that people will be able to breathe in the fragrance of life again.
Dozens of live music performances, theatre performances, lighting, murals, photography exhibitions and street theatres were prepared for the project.
The Liverpool City Council also took the next step; restricted art galleries displayed the visual arts throughout the city for weeks; they did it without any publicity to surprise the citizens.
You might think that this aid is for developed countries, but the following paragraph is dedicated to the Greek approach that has plagued a bankrupt economy in recent years.
According to the Katie newspaper, Greek Minister of Culture Marini reacted to the protest of the people of culture and art classes against the government's support for this group after the outbreak of the Corona virus and said: "In the field of music, we paid 2000 euros in cash to 1.5 million artists per person. In March, when a nationwide closure order was issued, 43,000 government employees and 14,300 private companies operating in the field of art were covered by government grants. In this regard, more than 35 million euros in cash assistance was paid. We also reduced the taxes that artists and art companies had to pay.
In addition, with the cooperation of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, we were able to have special support from some of the employees in the field of art who faced more problems in certain circumstances. We put this group of people in a special group and thus paid another 25 million euros to the field of art and those involved in the field of art."
Some time ago, you must have heard this amazing news: "Books became a staple in Switzerland and Belgium"; while book circulation in Iran has dropped to 200 to 300 copies, in some parts of the world, promoting culture of reading such as dinner is important to them.
Figaro reported that Switzerland and Belgium have announced that books are considered a commodity needed by people in these coronary days, therefore bookstores are one of the few shops that can continue to operating.
Surely you, the Iranian artist, are aware of all kinds of large and small donations from other countries to art groups in this dark year, who in Iran is unaware of the government's disregard for the living conditions of artists too? The media have reported the donation of 160,000 Tomans to 75,000 people and loans of 1 million Tomans, which, more than the smell of help, is a seal of approval for the depth and poverty of the artists and their very, very small tables.
It seems that in order for art and the artist to become dear in our country and to sit on the top, we have to think and do something. It seems that if we continue the process we have gone through all these years, neither art nor artistry will remain. Six-tenths of art's share of the country's budget is a clear sign.