LACMA and Farhang Foundation Celebrate the Iranian New Year and the First Day of Spring

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Roxie Sarhangi
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 zohreh jooya kiosk  dancers 
Zohreh Jooya Kiosk  Iranian Dancers 


Nowruz is LA's most celebrated Iranian event. Experience this free, daylong festival with authentic performances, films, music and more at LACMA.

Los Angeles-February 26 2015-A horn sounds, a twirl of colorful silk waves by, kisses on the cheek are exchanged and the New Year has arrived! Celebrated on the vernal equinox in Iran, Afghanistan, Albania, the U.S., India and Turkey, the New Year, called Nowruz ("new day"), is welcomed with vibrant displays of culture by more than 75 million people.

On Sunday, March 22 from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) guests can take part in the majesty and diversity of the Iranian culture, one of the oldest in the world, while also embracing the first day of spring-that universal time of renewal and rebirth.

Hosted by the nonprofit Farhang Foundation in partnership with LACMA, this free fete takes place at the museum campus and features daylong, authentic activities for everyone.

"Our Nowruz celebrations, in partnership with LACMA, have become a Southern California tradition. It is an honor for Farhang Foundation to share this historic and traditional Iranian celebration of the first day of spring with the entire community," says Hormoz Ameri, Farhang Foundation Trustee and Chair of the Nowruz Committee.

"We are delighted to once again host Farhang Foundation's annual Nowruz event and to help celebrate the Persian New Year with all of our friends in the Iranian-American community," shares Dr. Linda Komaroff, Curator of Islamic Art and Department Head, Art of the Middle East at LACMA. "This spring also marks the 50th anniversary of LACMA, which today is the only American museum that both collects and actively exhibits the full range of Iran's artistic heritage from the fourth millennium B.C. to the present."

On view at the LA Times Central Courtyard, experience Haft-Sîn, the symbolic and eye-catching centerpiece of Nowruz displayed in Iranian households to bring in the New Year. Families gather around an ornate fabric-draped table, laden with items that represent fertility, evolution, rebirth, prosperity, love, health and beauty.

From 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., in the Director's Roundtable Garden, storytelling, tiara making, calligraphy and lively, award-winning puppet shows will enchant parents and children.

From 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., jubilant sounds of Saaz-O-Dohol (a traditional musical duo playing a drum and pipe) and a troop of traditional Iranian dancers will help the musicians ring in the New Year throughout the campus.

At 1 p.m., music lovers will delight in a world premiere of renowned singer Zohreh Jooya's multimedia performance, The Sounds of a Persian Spring. It combines instrumental music, dance, poetry and theater to create a sonic and visual interpretation of the coming of spring. Jooya is known for unifying the beauty of diverse musical cultures; she grew up with an Iranian mother and a father from Afghanistan, and studied classical music in Vienna. Tickets for this performance, held in the Leo S. Bing Theater at 1 p.m., are $20, and can be bought at 323-857-6010 or purchased online.

At 3 p.m., experience a parade of color-saturated costumes at the LA Times Central Courtyard. Distinctive clothing from all regions of Iran will be modeled, including headdresses, jewelry, brocades and robes. Community members are invited to join the parade, dressed in their preferred traditional costumes from their favorite region of Iran.

At 5 p.m., revelers can enjoy a free outdoor concert by KIOSK in the BP Grand Entrance, pioneers of the underground rock music scene in Iran. The band-popular with fans and critics around the world-pulls from a wide range of musical influences, creating a unique sound that fuses gypsy jazz, Iranian folk, blues and rock, with sharp, satirical lyrics.

From 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., six short films will be screening in a loop for film aficionados at the Brown Auditorium. These are the top picks from the Farhang Foundation's Short Film Festival, which provides both veteran and aspiring filmmakers a venue to showcase their talents as they express different aspects of Iranian culture.

All day epicurescan sample the Persian-inspired menu created by Patina Group's chef Rui Wang, who has a background in international cuisines. The tented food fair will be held in front of Ray's. Delectable kabobs and dips will be available, as will watermelon, rosewater and other traditional beverages from a Persian juice bar.

From 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., as part of the Nowruz, gaming enthusiasts can play in a backgammon tournament on the North Plaza. Backgammon is one of the oldest board games in the world and has been played in Iran for 5,000 years.

With the exception of The Sounds of a Persian Spring and LACMA's art exhibitions, Nowruz events are free and non-ticketed.
Visitors are encouraged to experience LACMA's permanent collection, Art of the Ancient Near East and the first major installation of LACMA's exhibition of contemporary art of the Middle East, Islamic Art Now, featuring works by artists from Iran and the Arab world. Tickets are available here: http://tx1.lacma.org/Default.asp

Please join us on March 22nd, and Eide Shoma Mobarak, or happy New Year!

LACMA is located at 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036.

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About Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

Since its inception in 1965, LACMA has been devoted to collecting works of art that span both history and geography-and represent Los Angeles's uniquely diverse population. Today, the museum features particularly strong collections of Asian, Latin American, European and American art, as well as a contemporary museum on its campus. With this expanded space for contemporary art, innovative collaborations with artists, LACMA is creating a truly modern lens through which to view its rich encyclopedic collection. For more information visit www.lacma.org

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About Farhang Foundation

Farhang Foundation is a non-religious, non-political and not-for-profit foundation established in 2008 to celebrate and promote Iranian art and culture for the benefit of the community at large. The foundation supports a broad range of academic activities in Southern California by funding university programs, publications and conferences. The foundation also supports diverse cultural programs such as the celebration of Nowruz and Mehregan, theater, dance performances, film screenings and poetry reading in Southern California. And, in cooperation with various cultural and academic institutions, Farhang Foundation funds major programs and exhibitions about Iran and its culture. However, the content, viewpoints or biases expressed by individual artists, academics, institutions or events supported by the foundation belong solely to each individual party and do not necessarily reflect the views of Farhang Foundation. For more info visit Farhang.org