Code: 39549 A

TEHRAN. (Iranart) – Our artists are yet to forget how the Culture Ministry was left to its own devices to face the conservative camp three years ago. The government didn’t come to its rescue despite the expectations.

From Iran to the United States, cultural and artistic issues are unlike economics and politics; they know no borders. Public opinion observes and analyses events like a movie series on television:

One - Today the Tenth Parliament will take part in the entry exams of art and culture: A vote of confidence for the proposed minister of culture is the least of our expectations. Lawmakers never bother to take part in the Parliament’s Cultural Commission meetings. The artistic community is not happy at all. Today is a chance for our lawmakers to reciprocate; to make amends.

“Are the Parliament and the artistic community on two parallel lines?” We asked the same question here on 8 September, 2014. The lead read: “During the days when our artists didn’t know Minister Jannati, the Ninth Parliament gave him the vote of confidence. Now the artistic community knows him very well. He’s got the vote of confidence from the art world too. Sadly enough, some lawmakers are still going against public opinion…”

All eyes are now fixated on the Tenth Parliament. Will new lawmakers disturb those two parallel lines this time around?

Two - On 10 August the lead of this write-up read: “Artists Will Soon Give Their Marks to the Government.” They were supposed to evaluate the performance of the government in art and culture. The president went for management reshuffles, assuming that the government had failed to deliver or pass the exam. The point is that the Culture Ministry is under immense pressure from conservatives. This is unlike any other ministry. If the president’s reshuffle efforts were only meant to change top individuals, the results would still be the same.

The hope is to have fundamental changes in the field, even in the remaining seven months or so. Our artists are yet to forget how the Culture Ministry was left to its own devices to face the conservative camp three years ago. The government didn’t come to its rescue despite the expectations.

Three - Price fluctuations in oil and gold prices have an instant impact on markets in the U.S., Asia and Europe. This is where the world “online” makes any sense at all. In this world, all three branches of the government should change their perceptions towards the art world. It is not that hard for our artists to compare their positions online and with those of their counterparts in other parts of the world. Many were surprised when actor Robert De Niro criticized Donald Trump and his policies. Although some of his rhetoric was disrespectful, our artists asked the same question here: How would our officials react if an Iranian artist did say the same thing about our president?

How come artists enjoy that kind of job security and freedom of expression in the developed world? It is wrong to assume that we are still living in the previous decades where there was no internet. It is not too late for the culture minister to delete some red lines.

A final point here: House of Cards continues to be a popular TV series these days. The television is also broadcasting U.S. presidential debates. Do our broadcasters have any idea that our viewers are also asking the same questions from their officials?

This write-up was published on 1 November by the Shaq newspaper on page 14.

Hossein Hashempoor
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