Home Chess Opinion pieces A story of Persia in Kenya

A story of Persia in Kenya


She comes from a land that was once called Persia that many history books say gave us our much beloved game of chess.  The great thing is that she now lives in Nairobi and  I guess this gives her the right to be on Kenya Chess Masala!

She is the charming Maral Bolouri from Iran (known as the “Land of two rivers” or as “Persia”) who had an exhibition called “Sarnevesht” which means destiny in Farsi and which opened last week at the Kuona Trust, Nairobi.  This is her first solo exhibition in Nairobi and includes interesting ink-works, photocopy transfers and drawings and covers aspects of gender discrimination.
Maral Bolouri (right) with Danda Jaroljmek of Circle Art – photo credit Maral Bolouri
From left Anoushka, Maral Bolouri and Nairobi Chess Club Chairman Kim Bhari
The exhibition held at the famous Kuona Trust which is located on Likoni Close which is off Likoni Lane & Dennis Pritt Road.  The exhibition was curated by Danda Jaroljmek of Circle Art Agency. Those who have an interest in art should really visit the place and feel the vibrant energy from all these hard working and inspired artist.  Remember the “Sarnevesht” exhibition runs until 15th September 2015.
I have enclosed some photos my visit last Saturday.
The place where one feels the vibrations!
I came across this amazing piece of art of a lady thrashing a man and the first thing that came to my mind was Alusa K Bonventure’s question on the Facebook Group – Kenya Chess Central – where he asked – “is there a lady who can beat me 3 chess games in a row?”  I could just visualise Alusa getting a thrashing from some of our strong lady chess players.
Beautiful art work.  Unfortunately I did not get the name or the creator.
I even came across a chess board.
Chess board by Cyrus Kabiru Art
Beautiful artwork by the late Omosh Kindeh. Hustle & bustle of Nairobi?
Taking you back to Iran – I am sure many of you have over the years build up a bias against Iran due to the constant quarrels with the Western powers on nuclear issues and with Israel.  Do not let that cloud your vision about Iran.  Iran is a beautiful country and is cosmopolitan.  I have never visited Iran but know this from Brandon’s Facebook Page called “Humans of New York”.  Brandon started off with people of New York and then went to visit Iran and put up his photos and their stories on Facebook.  See http://www.humansofnewyork.com/tagged/iran.
In fact he is now running a series from his second visit to Iran.  That should just tell you something.
Iran is facing biting economic sanctions and it is in-fact impossible to book any flights to Iran from online sites that deal with holidays and travel.  I found this out a few months ago when we were trying to book our holidays via expedia.com and bookings.com.
Enough of politics.
Iran is a chess giant compared to Kenya with 10 GMs with Abbasifar Hasan rated at 2431 & 3 WGMs.
I have enclosed some photos from our history book which we used in secondary school.  I am sure the names Tigris, Euphrates, Sumeria, and Assyrians will now ring a bell? 
The cover of the book
Sample pages
Of course Persia was the land where Alexander the Great had many exploits (see my earlier story).  One question continues to puzzle me.  When we read the history books we hear of the great victory by Alexander the Great over King Darius.  In the end Alexander the Great never got to capture Darius alive and he went on to marry King Darius’s daughter Stateira.  What is the story from the Persian side.  Was Alexander’s victory as emphatic as what the Western history books say?
This brings me again to the question – how can we incorporate art and chess?  I have seen that Kuona Trust have some space that can really host a chess event so I guess it is only a matter of time for this concept to crystallise.