THE EVERLASTING FLAME EXHIBITION: ZOROASTRIANISM IN HISTORY AND IMAGINATION
11TH OCTOBER – 14TH DECEMBER 2013
OPEN TUESDAY – SATURDAY 10.30 – 17.00 & LATE NIGHT THURSDAY UNTIL 20.00
BRUNEI GALLERY, SCHOOL OF ORIENTAL AND AFRICAN STUDIES
UNIVERSITY OF LONDON
THORNHAUGH STREET, RUSSELL SQUARE, LONDON WC1H 0XG
“The Everlasting Flame: Zoroastrianism in History and Imagination” provides a visual narrative of the history of Zoroastrianism from its ancient Iranian roots, to its emergence as the foremost religion of the Achaemenid and Parthian empires as well as its consolidation as the state religion under the Sasanians and the establishment of the great regnal fires.
The reach of Zoroastrianism into Central Asia and China and its influence on the major religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam will also be demonstrated in the exhibition. From Iran to the west coast of India the story continues with the maritime journey of Zoroastrians and their settlement in India, their growth as an immigrant community under British colonial rule, and the later expansion of the modern diaspora.
The exhibition consists of a series of ten stories within the overall historical narrative that explores the fascinating ways in which Zoroastrianism has been imagined through the art, iconography and literature of non-Zoroastrians down the ages. Inside the exhibition artifacts, coins and silverware introduce the ancient and imperial periods of Iranian Zoroastrian history. Illustrated texts and manuscripts written in Avestan, Pahlavi, Persian and Gujarati languages show how the oral tradition was committed to writing during the Sasanian and later periods. The economic growth of the Parsi diaspora in India is demonstrated through paintings, porcelain, textiles, jewellery and furnishings from the nineteenth century and photographic materials will illustrate the grown of the later diaspora in Hong Kong, Singapore, the United States and Britain.
As well as the inclusion of important artifacts, the exhibition transforms areas of the gallery with spectacular installations. On approaching the gallery visitors will be confronted with a replica of the facade of the Yazd fire temple that will adorn the entrance of the building. A walk in fire temple, a central feature of the exhibition located on the lower floor of the gallery will consist of a prayer room, inner sanctum and ritual precinct where the yasna ceremony is performed. As outsiders are not allowed into fire temples in India this will be a unique opportunity for visitors. Other signature pieces include a reproduction engraved in glass of the British Museum’s 10 metre cast of the western staircase from the palace of Darius at Persepolis, complete with the magnificent lion and bull motif. Finally, verses from the Gathas of Zarathustra will be presented as a series of large calligraphic panels and combined with voice recordings of the text to be presented as an audio-visual experience.
The exhibition is accompanied by a major publication sponsored by the ZTFE and published by IB Tauris, for which the foreword will be written by HRH The Prince of Wales. Hence this will be the first time in the history of the ZTFE and the Zoroastrian community in the UK that a ZTFE sponsored publication with a forward written by the heir to the throne of the United Kingdom and will also have an ISBN number.
The Everlasting Flame Exhibition has only gone ahead because the Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe (ZTFE) agreed to core fund it by GBP£100,000, budget is £300,000, for which quite a few rank and file ZTFE members donated around GBP£1000 – £5000. Funds are still required and I am inquiring whether you know of donors who would be willing to donate GBP£1000/- or more towards The Everlasting Flame Flame Appeal?
There will also be a two day conference titled “Looking Back: The Formation of Zoroastrian Identity Through Rediscovery of the Past” and organised by the Centre for Iranian Studies, LMEI, SOAS will take place at the Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre on the 11th and 12th October 2013. Further information
The exhibition website is http://www.theeverlastingflame.com. To get the drop down menu move mouse hand / arrow to the header or top of the screen. It is the first time in the West, that there will be a world class exhibition on Zoroastrianism in the West, at a noted world class university, located in one of the top cities in world and that too for a 2 month duration. The entrance to the exhibition is free!!! Try to visit The Everlasting Flame Exhibition, especially on the 11th and 12th October 2013. The following week there will also be an event in the Houses of Parliament. Spread the word!!!
Malcolm M Deboo
Malcolm M Deboo
Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe (Incorporated)
Oldest Asian Faith Based Voluntary Organisation in the UK; Established 1861
Zartoshty Brothers Hall, Zoroastrian Centre, 440 Alexandra Avenue, Harrow, HA2 9TL, UK
Religious and Cultural Centre of the Parsi & Irani Zoroastrian Community
Registered Charity No: 277185 Company Limited by Guarantee Reg No: 1403266