1. Outbreak of COVID-19) simply Corona) has been raging around the world for more than a year. How do you see the cultural implications of all these decisions on human society?
When the epidemic of corona broke out, the world was suddenly in a state of crisis, and for the first time in human history, a complete cessation occurred in various social, cultural, and artistic spheres. Although the history of experiencing infectious diseases such as cholera, plague, tuberculosis, etc. as one of the most important causes of human mortality was opened thousands of years ago, but today, the fate of human beings all over the world in this period of time is complicated with the pervasive disease of Corona. So we see how human life has become intertwined and interconnected with this situation. All of this, in return for experiences and lessons, has befallen mankind, whose achievements we must use as a reserve throughout history. All of COVID 19's pandemic showed that the destiny of the new world community is more intertwined than ever, and this is a warning for the future; warning in this feature that cohesion is not too useful. In other words, care must increase as global cohesion increases and benefits; this alternative connection does not require global planning. The pandemic made us stop for a moment and think about the past and the future and the dangers that the world community saw; It was a unique experience. The characteristics of cultural and artistic life were also affected by this crisis, and the social activities of art were severely restricted, such as the closure of museums and art centers, painting galleries, and annual festivals around the world. Believe me, it is only art that can save today's helpless human, being caught in the battle of Corona, from the fear of confronting the virus. It is not wrong to believe freely that Art connects us to the diverse world of thoughts and ideas and to the world in which it is.
2. During the pandemic, people buy and read e-books at home, play musical instruments or sing on their porch, and some of them attend virtual concerts. What is cultural life like in Iran? What do you think about the role of culture in fighting the pandomic?
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, one of the most important achievements is the formation of art genres and new lifestyles. As a result, artists are learning new ways of adapting to the new world to express themselves through art in existing situations. Virtual communication and the transmission of emotion through connecting concerts and displaying works of art on the roofs and terraces of houses created different sections and reduced the pain of all diseases.
In fact, the arts were developed in this context to grow from different cultures in this period. Absent communication has been found. Art may not be scientifically a cure for Corona, but it may be a cure for stress for the soul and heart due to the fear of disease in today's society. In fact the artists treated the terrified souls of human beings. Iranian artists also began to work on this rule. The Iranian artists by holding exhibitions of visual arts , performing virtual concerts , online music, making films are showing efforts to alleviate the pain caused by this disease. In fact, artists along with doctors and nurses have helped a lot to cure the disease and have worked hard in this way. Iranian artists also provide emotional and spiritual support to the medical staff, and these artists should be especially appreciated.
3- The cultural identity of a country is reflected in some way in the protection and preservation of its cultural heritage. Iran as one of the ancient civilizations of the world has a great heritage. Please introduce some examples of your country's cultural heritage. What steps has the government taken so far to protect its cultural heritage? How do the Iranian government and people view their ancient civilization?
The issue of identity goes back to the past. A person who loses his identity loses his past, and vice versa. Iran is always proud of its glorious past with its countless works of art that are now kept in famous museums around the world and inside Iran. The ancient period of Iran and post-Islam has witnessed the extent of the great civilization of Iran. The legacy left from the Burnt city and the civilization of Jiroft during the Achaemenid and Sassanid kingdoms and during the rich Islamic period is a proof of the glory of art in Iran. Although the protection of the works of the past and artistic heritage is a national duty for all, but in Iran, the country's cultural heritage organization is responsible for the protection and preservation of many ancient monuments and in this way, with all the facilities and experts of archaeologists, researchers and artists of traditional and indigenous arts it tries to preserve and protect the cultural and artistic heritage of Iran using the latest methods.
4- Cultural identity is one of the characteristics of cultural power (soft power) and one of the important components of national sovereignty. According to Chinese President Xi Jinping, cultural identity is one of the strategic elements and principles in national development. What do you think about cultural identity? Why is cultural identity important for the survival and development of a country?
While confirming the correct opinion of the esteemed President of China, cultural identity is indeed an important element of any country's power. The social identity of individuals is formed in the light of the cultural identity of the society and in accordance with it. Cultural identity creates a sense of collective belonging and empathy of the people. Economic, military and political identities also shape the image of a nation and contribute to prosperity, security and dynamism. But it is the cultural identity that makes a country survive. Today, a country that does not preserve its cultural identity is in danger. Some cultures are easily overwhelmed by other cultures, while others take a hard line. Cultural identity is in fact the memories of history and experiences, and especially the common feelings and attitudes towards the world around us, which lead to the cohesion, harmony and national empathy of a country.
5. Recently, in Western countries, the clash of civilizations has become a relatively pervasive theory, as the differences between different cultures and civilizations will eventually lead to intensification of conflicts and wars (whether Cold or military war). What is your opinion on this?
This theory has long been active in the Western world. Westerners have always had a sense of self-worth throughout history.
Today, the West itself has come to the conclusion that the planet can no longer tolerate tension and seek the supremacy of one country over another, and that a sympathetic view must be created of the entire globe.There is no choice but to have a dialogue between cultures, civilizations and nations for a just destiny for all human beings on the planet.
In this way, human beings reach a global balance and harmony to achieve better future.Iran, as the first to discuss the dialogue of civilizations, has always advocated the interaction of nations with each other, based on mutual respect and value of the human .Therefore, each of the fields created in the world should be used for dialogue, exchange and interaction between governments, nations and cultures, to create and achieve world peace.
6- China supports the exchange and mutual learning between civilizations and believes that different civilizations should respect each other. The "One Belt - One Way" project, proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping, offers the dual goals of facilitating trade and exchange between civilizations. what is your idea about this?
Iran, after the revolution, especially with the approach and views of the Supreme Leader, is more than ready for dialogue with the Eastern world. In the pre-revolutionary period, dialogue took place only with the Western world; But today we are talking to the West and especially to the East. Because we are closer to the East, our history, our outlook, and our spirits are closer together. If China wants to establish deep ties with other countries, it must consider a bilateral exchange and dialogue; If he learns something, he should teach something, in other words, if he benefits, he should also benefit the other party. This relationship must be reciprocal at all levels. The problem with Westerners is that this principle of the usefulness of bilateral relations is not observed in the countries with which they make treaties, which is why countries like the United States are losing their place in the world. If China can establish a balanced and interactive relationship with countries like Iran in a way that attracts the opinion of the people in addition to the government, it can hope for lasting and long-term relations. Therefore, China must form a picture of balanced relations in the eyes of the people of the countries and win their hearts.
7- What is the role of your institution, the Academy of Arts of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in creating and introducing cultural identity and strengthening exchanges between civilizations?
Our main task is to protect and develop cultural identity. According to the statute and the high position of the Academy, which is under the direct supervision of the President,the first necessity and reason for the existence of four academies in Iran is the protection of nature and art, literature, science and medicine. For the preservation and development of art, one cannot ignore other countries; self-knowledge is not possible without knowing another. Self-knowledge is not possible in a vacuum and solitude, and the first step is to talk to other civilizations, especially neighboring civilizations.
The next point is the development and promotion of art, which is another task of the Academy of Arts. Art must be brought out of stagnation, and this is not possible without dialogue with other civilizations; and without using other experiences and transferring your experiences to another. Art knows no borders and is perhaps the fastest phenomenon for cross-border communication.
So the Iranian Academy of Arts has two tasks: one is to protect the identity and nature of art that looks to the past and the other is the development of art that stems from futurism. We believe that one cannot know oneself without knowing another, and we welcome dialogue with other cultures. We need this recognition, and we welcome dialogue between civilizations and cultures.
8. The prevalence of pandemic has highlighted the importance of a society with a common future for humanity. How do you assess the relationship between China's proposal to strengthen cultural identity while learning between civilizations, and the creation of a human society with a common future?
For the first time in the world, Iranians put forward the theory of the dialogue of civilizations as opposed to the theory of the clash of civilizations given by the Americans. Iran is one of the theorizing countries in the field of dialogue and interaction of cultures. Iranians welcome dialogue, but bilateral dialogue, not domination. For a proper future, we need the Iranian theory, ie dialogue and interaction of civilizations, and profit-for-profit or win-win dialogue, and dialogue with mutual respect and preservation of diversity and civilization and cultural identity. If these theories are implemented, we can see a peaceful world with prosperity and peace in the future.
9- If possible, would you talk about cultural ties between China and Iran.
Fortunately, the current situation is a very good condition for the development of cultural relations and especially artistic relations between Iran and China ,these two great Asian civilizations. Trade and political relations between the two countries are good in the current situation, but cultural and artistic relations have not grown as desired and are not commensurate with the development of relations in other areas. We hope that the two academies of art in Iran and China can provide the conditions for more interaction between the two countries. We have a lot to say to each other. For example, Iranian cinema has a lot to say. China also has good words for us. For example, we are interested in hearing and exchanging views and experiences about digital art in China.
10. What is your opinion about the role of the "One Belt - One Road" project in strengthening and enhancing mutual learning between civilizations?
Regarding a one-belt road and the role of Iran, I have to say that when the issue of the Silk Road is discussed in history, due to the benefits that this road has for everyone, it has become a mythical road that today everyone talks about it well. Now we live in new conditions and it may not be possible to maintain the physical shape of that road, but the spirit and beneficial connections between the countries of the world can be preserved and revived through it by influential countries such as Iran, China and India. What can be done with the Silk Road and the design of a belt-one way in the minds and souls of nations and creating connections between nations, especially Eastern nations, is very useful and a necessity of our time. The Eastern nations are unfortunately not cohesive nations, they will be very powerful if they can unite.
In order to implement these issues, my opinion is to create the possibility and conditions for dialogue between the artists of the two academies. We offer dialogue areas between artists of the two countries, setting up joint art towns and accepting and developing joint arts. It is also necessary to hold joint exhibitions.
An operational working group should be set up sooner. Thinkers have to enter into dialogue and co-creation.