Under the auspices of the Cambridge Shahnama Centre there was the premiere of a new contemporary stage work by Dr Hossein Hadisi for voices, percussion and dance. The piece celebrated the Persian traditional art of storytelling (naqqáli) by reenacting the ancient myth of Zahhák, a symbol of tyranny and evil in the Shahnama. The music is performed by EXAUDI, one of Britain’s leading contemporary music ensembles, and six dancers from the London Contemporary Dance School. The performance also features paintings by Iranian surrealist master Ali Akbar Sadeghi.
At the Cambridge performance there was a small but representative exhibition in the foyer of the concert hall, ‘Imagining Shahnama in the 21st century’, featuring work by Veronica Shimanovskaya (oil painting, bronze sculpture), Sama Soltani (miniature painting), Firuza Melville (digital collage) and Golnar Malek (oil painting). Dr Hamidreza Ghelichkhani, a calligrapher at theTehran Fine Arts Academy, also displayed examples of his work. Dr Ghelichkhani spent Michaelmas term 2013 at Pembroke College as a visiting scholar at the invitation of the British Academy (British Institute of Persian Studies). During his visit he conducted weekly calligraphy classes and participated in a series of lectures in Pembroke on Persian palaeography.