Teer Art Week is an eight-day cultural event taking place once a year in Tehran. This January, the event brought together cultural luminaries, artists, galleries and collectors in the form of city-wide projects that took place in gallery and non-gallery spaces alike. Iranian curators of repute were invited to collaborate with artists of their choice in settings as diverse as bazaars, alleyways, museums to car garages, locations that prove art has just as much legitimacy in the streets as in the gallery.
Now in its second edition, Teer Art is the initiative of Hormoz Hematian, founder of Dastan Gallery. Hematian is an established voice in the Iranian art scene who has made it his mission to champion modern and contemporary experimental art from the region. Since its founding in 2012, the Dastan group of galleries has been spotted at numerous international venues and art fairs, including Frieze New York, Art Basel Hong Kong, Art Dubai and Contemporary Istanbul, where Hematian has won critical acclaim for presenting cutting-edge and bold contemporary Iranian art.
Perceiving the need to bring to Tehran an art fair and art week of international calibre, Hematian sought collaboration with likeminded cultural entrepreneurs who saw the potential of the city—full of rich history and cultural tradition—into closer contact with international developments in modern and contemporary art.
This led him to seek out other established voices in the Iranian contemporary art scene who shared his enthusiasm and passion. Namely Maryam Majd, a research curator specialising in modern and contemporary Iranian art and former lecturer at the Tehran University of Art, who since 2004 has been organising exhibitions at Assar Art Gallery.
Together, the two approached a handful of other Tehrani galleries to assess whether there was a need for an art fair and art week in the city. The response they got proved overwhelmingly positive.
This year, the theme of the event was “Art and the City.” Fourteen curators were invited to present works at the intersection of art and urbanism. A total of 21 galleries were selected by an international committee to participate in the event. The selection committee was composed this year of Myrna Ayad, a Dubai-based arts consultant, cultural strategist and editor; Negar Azimi, senior editor of Bidoun; Daniele Balice, an art editor and writer based in between Milan and Paris; Rozita Sharafjahan, founder and director of Azad Art Gallery; and Behzad Hatam, graphic designer and PR director of Roudaki Hall.
Teer Art Week also included a host of interesting talks and symposiums held at Vartan House, Cafe Godot Yas, Iranian Artists’ Forum and Khanesh Cultural Institute, developed in collaboration with Pejman Foundation and conceived by Sohrab Kashani. Subjects like “Curating Archives: Archival exhibitions in Tehran” (moderated by Hamidreza Pejman); “Art critique as a public mediator” (featuring Homayoun Sirizi, Helia Darabi and Sohrab Mahdavi); and many others took place in public venues across the city.
Above all, Teer Art offers an excellent starting point for developing insightful perspectives into the fast-moving and innovative ecology of contemporary Iranian art. By catering both to local and international audiences, Teer Art offers art professionals and the public alike the chance to dialogue with contemporary Iranian art practices in deeper, more meaningful and sustained ways.