0248 GMT November 27, 2021
Although cultural interactions have been developed very significantly among nations in view of emerging modern means of communications — particularly Internet — state officials are still seeking new ways to publicize their countries’ rich culture most effectively.
Mass media including magazines, newspapers, radio and TV have always played an important role in enhancing people’s view about a country. However, a growing need for more tangible ways of publicizing countries’ potentials is felt in today’s competitive world.
Museums displaying different items, sending cultural ambassadors to other nations, and holding exhibitions on different topics are some of tangible ways for providing aliens with a comprehensive picture of a country.
Cultural and artistic carnivals, which mean travelling around the country and the world with vehicles carrying heritages, are one of such creative ways innovated by an Iranian artist recently.
Hassan Nikzad — an artist involved in production of handicrafts — is the first Iranian who came up with the idea that there is a need for vehicles that cross the world’s cities, while carrying handicrafts from Iran.
“The idea to establish a cultural carnival hit my mind three years ago. Immediately, I began carrying my artworks to different cities of Iran by my bus”, he told Iran Daily.
Nikzad, who has held talks with state officials to pave the way for taking Iranian heritages to global cities in form of a caravan, said such carnivals play a significant role in giving a better sense of familiarity with a country’s culture, as residents in the host nations have the chance to touch the cultural properties.
Excerpts of Iran Daily’s interview with Nikzad follow:
Iran Daily: How long have you been involved in handicraft sector?
Nikzad: About seven years ago, I returned to Iran from Freiburg, Germany. Freiburg and Isfahan are sister cities a large number of Iranian tourists visit Freiburg every year.
To serve them and better introduce my indigenous culture to Germans, I established three restaurants under the names of Isfahan, Persepolis, and Saffron in Freiburg.
I adopted an Iranian architectural style for my restaurants and decorated everywhere with artworks from Iran. The unique style of my restaurants attracted many Germans, motivating them to ask questions about Iran and its people.
Upon my arrival in Iran, I got involved in producing wood- and metalwork that I was interested in from my childhood.
Soon, I established a workshop and started producing my artistic works.
How long have you been travelling to Iranian cities by your artistic bus?
It was three years ago that I realized selling handicrafts in stores — despite being profitable — is not very helpful in introducing and promoting them. Handicrafts are the symbols of our national identity and I am eager to bring them among people rather than waiting for people to visit my store.
So, I started travelling around the country with a bus displaying my works.
What did you do to modify the bus to a handicraft expo?
I worked round-the-clock for two months to prepare the bus for an exhibition. The bus needed some technical changes in addition to changes in its appearance to become suitable for a mobile expo.
What kinds of crafts are showcased in the bus?
The bus displays famous handicrafts from each province. For example, inlaid works from Isfahan, marquetry from Shiraz, pottery works from Hamedan, glassworks from Tehran, and woodworks from Markazi province are some of handicrafts found in my bus.
Do you only showcase handicrafts?
Currently, I solely display handicrafts but I am determined to buy another bus and display cultural items of different types after getting permit.
The only places I have not been yet are Kish and Qeshm islands, which I hope to travel by March 2016.
In what provinces was your exhibition warmly received?
People highly appreciated my mobile exhibition in all cities, even if they could not afford to buy expensive crafts.
Glass and wooden works were sold at higher rates.
You established a workshop following your arrival in Iran. How many jobs have you created?
I established a workshop and a shop. Four people are working in my workshop producing artistic works and two other are working in my shop selling items.
Does the government support you? Do you have any plan to take Iran’s cultural heritages to other countries by your bus?
Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization supported me after discovering how my activity would be helpful in promoting Iran’s culture. The organization has issued me a permission, which enables me to take my mobile exhibition to other countries. I will start my trip to other nations as soon as purchasing a better bus.
I have been given a green light for launching a large caravan consisting of different buses for showcasing Iranian cultural items including garments, cuisines and Iranian music.
The caravan will embark on its cross-country road trip in the near future.