Art as a response to violence and as a means to achieve peace and unity among men.

It is difficult to summarize Behnam Fanaeyan’s cultural enthusiasm but undoubtedly the keywords art, peace, humanity are those that characterize Behnam’s artistic mission.

In Italy since 1979 following the Islamic revolution in Iran, Benam deals with the carpet sector as a designer, importer and manufacturer. Belonging to the Baha’i minority religion in the country of origin makes it necessary to move to Italy, as the regime initiates a policy of religious persecution. Behnam is very fond of the term “Persian”, claiming the ancestry, as a descendant of Cyrus the Great, Persian ruler and forerunner of human rights.

He is credited with the famous cylinder dating back to about 2500 years ago considered the first human rights charter. The first written testimony of values ​​such as religious freedom, the will to abolish slavery. Behnam’s testimony is somehow proof that certain values ​​transcend the barriers of time and that certain claims of rights are not definitive achievements but treasures to be constantly defended.

Behnam has chosen to organize exhibitions, to become a patron in order to give a voice to those who cannot express themselves in Iran, in what he claims as his homeland. Artists who are prevented from showing their inspiration and their ideology.

A solidarity drive that pushed him concretely to help the artists Amir and Vishka, even hosting them at home.

But like them many others. A response to political, religious, sexual violence and discrimination, a strong response but made up of … art. Art as a road to freedom, artists who bring their works around Italy, an exhibition presented by Vittorio Sgarbi and which has received unanimous appreciation.

There are several cultural personalities that Behnam got to know and with whom he established a friendship, Lucio Dalla and Franco Battiato among others. A story of lights and shadows that of Behnam, forced to defend himself also from the accusation of fraud and embezzlement, an accusation for which the Italian authorities have asked for repatriation. However, the granting of refugee status prevented his forcible return to Iran, where he would have suffered persecution due to his religious orientation and his activity in defense of human rights. A story with a happy ending, like those that are respected. A story in which law, solidarity, art, brotherhood, freedom are the colors of the same design: peace between men. And they escape the concept of limit both in time and in space. Speaking of humanity, the most appropriate metaphor is that of Behnam: we are out of a different color but of the same garden.

Alfonso Gelo

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