The Campaign That Turned Tehran In To An Art Gallery As Big As A Town

Sameera Ehteram
The city government of Tehran deserves accolades for creating “A Gallery as Big as a Town.”

Anti-American posters and billboards aren't exactly rare in Tehran. They can be seen on walls as well as billboards along with various brands selling their merchandise.

What is a rare, as well as surprising, is what is replacing these signs.

Here’s what’s happening:

The commercial slogan and hate speech toting billboards are being swapped by paintings from local as well as prominent artists like Pablo Picasso, René Magritte and Henri Matisse throughout the Iranian Capital.

The campaign, called, “A Gallery As Big As a Town” is planned for a period of 10 days only but it has turned almost the entire city in to a giant art gallery.

"It’s wonderful to see billboard ads of laundry machines or big corporate banks being replaced by a Rembrandt or a Cézanne or a Picasso," Sadra Mohaqeq, a journalist, told The Guardian.

“This really inspires me to for the first time in my life to go to a museum, instead of again going out and smoke water pipe," Majed Hobi, a student, told The New York Times.

Almost all of Tehran’s municipal owned billboards are now a part of this campaign.

“Our people are too busy to go to museums and galleries. So we decided to turn the entire city into a huge gallery,” says Mojtaba Mousavi, a counselor to the Organization of Beautification of Tehran.