Paintings by Hannibal Alkhas on display at IAF

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Tehran Times: An exhibition by master sculptor and painter Hannibal Alkhas was opened during a ceremony at the Iranian Artists Forum (IAF) on his 80th birthday on Friday.

Art students are holding various programs during a 12-day celebration of the birthday of their teacher beginning on June 11. His actual birth date falls on June 13.

The event started on Friday evening with the opening of the exhibition which showcases almost 250 paintings and sculptures featuring works by Alkhas from 1961 to 2001.

The opening ceremony was attended by several artists and students as well as art scholars.

Actress Gohar Kheirandish, one-time student of Alkhas at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Tehran, described him as an active, thoughtful artist who has a deep connection with Iranian concepts.

She also pointed to Alkhas' latest work which is a remake of the Persian epic tragedy of Rustam and Sohrab with a new Assyrian happy ending.

“He has painted his life in his works so all we know what he desires. He wants to remind all humankind of the simple life,” she mentioned.

“When I read the combat of Rustam and Sohrab in Ferdowsi's Shahnameh, I wept for Sohrab (Rustam's only son) who was killed by his father. So I decided to bring the story to a different end,” Alkhas mentioned about his project.

He went on to say that the story continues on to the modern world of today where they even travel to the United States to save the American Indians. His words were followed by applause from the audience.

At the ceremony, scholar Musa Akrami talked about the philosophy of painting and Firuzeh Sheibani discussed Iranian paintings of the past 50 years and the influence of Hannibal on painting.

The celebration will come to an end on June 23 with a talk by sculptor Hamid Shans followed by a live music performance. All programs are open to the public.

The son of Assyrian writer Rabi Adai Alkhas, Hannibal was born in 1930 in Kermanshah, Iran. He moved to the United States in 1951 where he attended the Art Institute of Chicago from 1953 to 1959 and earned a bachelor's and a master's degree in fine art. He now teaches at different campuses of the Islamic Azad University in Iran.


Unpublished Works by 'Millennium' Writer Found
Iran News: Several unpublished manuscripts by Stieg Larsson, the Swedish crime author who died before his "Millennium" trilogy became a global cult hit, have surfaced in Stockholm, Sweden's national library said Tuesday.

"We have received material from a small archive from a periodical called the Jules Verne Magazine, and in that small archive there were some manuscripts by the author Stieg Larsson that were never published," Sweden's deputy national librarian Magdalena Gram told AFP.

The manuscripts, written around 1970 when Larsson was just 17, were "in the science fiction genre" and had been sent to magazines in hope of publication, Gram said.

She said the library had been aware of the manuscripts for some time, but that she had only just started looking at the papers and could provide no further details.

Gram said it would be up to Larsson's estate-holders -- his father and brother -- whether to publish the works, but said they should think twice before doing so, since the early works could potentially harm the author's reputation.

Larsson's "Millennium" trilogy has become a phenomenon in Sweden and abroad, translated into more than 30 languages and made into popular Swedish movies with Hollywood versions in the works.

Its popularity is a striking contrast to the author's tragic fate.

Larsson, who worked as a journalist in Stockholm before writing the books, did not live to enjoy the sensational success; he died in November 2004 of a heart attack, aged 50, a year before the first book was published.


Ancient Prayer Book Returned to Ethiopia
Iran News: A century-old Ethiopian prayer book stolen decades ago was returned to the African nation late Wednesday after the American collector who held it agreed to the restitution.

The precious relic is a psalter written in the liturgical Geez language and illuminated with bright and colorful pictures of saints that belonged to Emperor Menelik, who ruled the country from 1889 to 1913.

Experts say it disappeared three decades ago and was only located recently by Steve Delamarter, a visiting American scholar who made contact with several collectors of Ethiopian items in the United States.

"Gerald Weiner is the largest collector of Ethiopian antiquities in north America. I went to him and said they belonged to Ethiopia," said Steve Delamarter, professor of Old Testament at US-based George Fox University.

"To my surprise, he thought it was a good idea and decided to act in good will," he said, before handing the relic to Addis Ababa University officials at a ceremony late Wednesday.

Delamarter said he was still working with the Ethiopian authorities on ways of repatriating all the items in Weiner's collection.

Officials say thousands of Ethiopian historical objects remain in the hands of foreign collectors and museums in Western countries due to centuries of poor management which led to looting.

Professor Richard Pankhurst, an Addis Ababa-based historian who has long championed the return of stolen Ethiopian antiquities, hailed the psalter's homecoming but singled out Britain for its lack of cooperation.

Following the defeat of Ethiopian emperor Tewodros by British troops in 1868, victorious soldiers stole an 18-carat gold crown, more than 500 ancient manuscripts and a painting.

Tewodros committed suicide and his young son Alemayehu was taken to Britain, where he died 11 years later aged 18.

Only a handful of the artifacts have since been returned, with the rest still housed by well-known museums across Britain.

"It took 15 elephants and 200 mules to bring the loot. It was unjustified and even sacrilegious as they were taken from a church," Pankhurst said.

Ethiopian President Girma Wolde-Giorgis has over the past few years written letters to Queen Elizabeth II requesting the repatriation of Prince Alemayehu's remains and the restitution of the gold crown.

"There have been requests for their return, but the answers from British authorities are always not satisfactory," Pankhurst said.

Another relic, the Axum Obelisk, was re-erected in its original site two years ago after Rome returned the 150-ton stela plundered by fascist Italy seven decades earlier.


Congress on Iran, Afghanistan Written Heritage on Agenda

Iran Daily: Iran's Majlis Library will host a congress themed 'Iran and Afghanistan Written Heritage' on July 3.

According to Mehr News Agency, the two-day seminar is organized to help introduce scholars of both Persian-speaking countries, said head of the library Rasoul Ja'farian.

“Iran, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan are three Persian-speaking countries. A few other countries like India, Pakistan, Turkey and Azerbaijan also have limited Persian-speaking communities. But Afghanistan enjoys a special place in the region since Afghans have many common cultures with Iran,” Ja'farian said.

Iran National Library and Archives and the Science Ministry are ready to establish a joint research center on cultural heritage, he said, adding that the library will set up an Afghanistan studies department.

“Most Iranian nationals are familiar with the Afghan workers across the country while scholars from both countries are not familiar with one another. Cultural exchange is the major goal of this seminar. We would like to publish Afghan works in Iran in order to ease the problems they face for printing their works in Pakistan,” he remarked.

He expressed hope that the seminar would be a means for the development of stronger cultural ties between the two countries.

Almost 50 Afghan guests are expected to attend the seminar to highlight Persian history, poetry, literature and culture.

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