Fondation Behnam Bakhtiar Interview With Shirley Elghanian



Fondation Behnam Bakhtiar travels to Tehran for the very special group exhibition 'Remembering Tomorrow' held at the Niavaran Cultural Center. 


Remembering Tomorrow is a touring exhibition and auction that will take place in Tehran and Dubai this year throughout February and March. Dedicated to contemporary Iranian art, the exhibition will showcase an eclectic mix of artists including leading figures from the contemporary Iranian art scene. 


Read our conversation below with Shirley Elghanian, Magic of Persia Founder & Chairman of the Board of Trustees.



FBB. Magic of Persia's first ever traveling exhibition ‘Remembering Tomorrow’ opened on February 19th, 2016 at the Niavaran Cultural Centre in Tehran. Tell us more about this exciting group exhibition.


I founded the charity in 2004, and my dream has always been to exhibit in Iran. Now that we had the opportunity to, we were absolutely thrilled to be able to showcase the works of the immeasurably generous artists, that throughout the years have been the reason for our success. 


The exhibition's title, 'Remembering Tomorrow' was chosen with the concept of patronage and documentation in mind, the idea of creating tomorrow, today. 


Unfortunately, I could not be there myself, however the reception that was given to this exhibition was unprecedented, with over 600 people in attendance at the VIP opening reception. 


FBB. We know that ‘Remembering Tomorrow’ will be travelling to Dubai soon where all works will be exhibited and auctioned during a fundraising gala. What will be the programming for Dubai?


In addition to the works that were exhibited in Iran, we have a few other pieces that will be exhibited here in Dubai, including a unique surprise lot, which will be announced on our newsletter on 8th March! The exhibition will be at the JAMM Art Gallery, a wonderful space generously donated by Farhad Bakhtiar.


'Remembering tomorrow' begins in Dubai with a VIP Seated dinner & Auction on the 13th, at a private event themed with the unique vision of Ali Bakhtiar, who has been the sponsor for the theming of every gala that Magic of Persia has held over the past 12 years. 


This will be followed by an opening reception on 14th March, open to all the visitors who will come to Dubai for Art Dubai. 


FBB. We are curious to know how MOP goes about curating Iranian artists for it’s exhibitions and/or auctions. What are the factors important to you and MOP?


The main source of funding for the charity is the auctioning of the work donated but the generous artists. We aim not only to exhibit established artists but also to give opportunities to younger and less established artists, and in doing so exposing them to markets outside of Iran. 


That being said, for many years we have had specific curators that have brought in selected pieces by their selection of artists. This year’s collection however has been curated in house and we tried to select works that would attract and appeal to a greater and more varied audience. 


FBB. If you would have to share your first three values related to the promotion of Iranian artists and art scene, what would you list first?


1. Exposure of Iranian contemporary art outside of Iran 

2. The cataloging and documentation of Iranian art and culture

3. Providing a platform for cross cultural communication between contemporary Iranian artists and other visual practitioners of other cultures 


FBB. What would be the best advice you could give to emerging and established Iranian artists today?


The most important thing is for the artists to be able to document and present their amazing work in a professional manner deserving of their unique talents.





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