Parviz Tanavoli has been engaged in a running battle with the authorities in Tehran ever since the home and work he donated to the city to become a museum fell out of favor. Now Tanavoli, whose sales benefitted from a liberalization of culture in Iran even just a few years ago, is being written out of Iran’s cultural history:
The City of Tehran bought 50 Tanavoli sculptures along with his home in two separate agreements under a plan aimed at building a museum in his name. The museum was built but it did not survive beyond five months. The sculptures were transferred to City storage spaces and the house was evacuated. Tanavoli filed a complaint and got his home back, but the City refused to return his sculptures.
On Monday March 16, 2013, a video posted on social network sites revealed that municipal officials had ransacked Parviz Tanavoli’s home and confiscated 11 of his sculptures, damaging some of them. The damaged works were “Iran’s Walls”, “Memorial for Farhad Kouhkan” and “Shirin & Farhad.” Sixty pieces were transferred to Imam Ali Museum.
The Cultural Organization of Tehran Municipality has announced that its plan to cleanse Imam Ali Museum will bring the collection more in line with the spirit of the museum.
The leadership of Imam Ali Museum changed in June, when Safa Fazeli took over from Amir Abdolhosseiny. There is a possibility that the museum’s 60 works by Tanavoli will be put up for sale.
[…] In an open letter this past June, Parviz Tanavoli wrote to Iranian president Hassan Rohani, saying: “In accordance with civil, religious and customary laws, these pieces belong to me and must be returned to me as such. I will fight for them as long as I am alive and ask my children to keep after them until they are returned to their rightful owner.”