Opening day celebration: Love and devotion

Conference of the birds (detail), from ʿAttar, Mantiq al-Tayr, 1493 Courtesy of Bodleian Library, University of Oxford. Via the State Library of Victoria website.

Date: Friday 9 March 2012, 11:00am – 4:00pm

Venue: Experimedia, State Library of Victoria via main entry, Swanston St

Free and open to the public

The State Library of Victoria is running a special day of activities to mark the opening of the exhibition Love and devotion: from Persia and beyond. The free exhibition Love and devotion: from Persia and beyond (9 March–1 July 2012) celebrates the beauty of Persian manuscripts and the stories of human and divine love told through their pages from the early 11th century on. Many of the manuscripts on show have been loaned from the world-renowned collection of the Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford; other exhibits are rare works from the State Library of Victoria and other Australian collections. More information available here.

Activities running on Friday 9th March.

Curators’ illustrated introduction

Hear about the Persian manuscripts’ stories of human and divine love from Susan Scollay and Clare Williamson, co-curators of the exhibition.

Time: 11–11.30am and 2–2.30pm.

Film screening

Watch a short film that previews the exquisite manuscripts presented in the exhibition and gives an insight into the tradition and resonance of Persian love poetry.

Time: 11.30–11.35am and 2.30–2.35pm.

Traditional Persian music

Enjoy the delicate sounds of traditional Persian music with Navid Akrami on the tonbak, a Persian goblet-shaped drum, and Soheil Bahrami on the tar, a long-necked stringed instrument dating from the time of the ancient Persian kings.

Time: 11.40am–12pm and 2.40–3pm.

Persian tales of love and devotion

Take a journey on a magic carpet with master storyteller Anne E Stewart as she weaves tales of Persian heritage and culture, including those of the legendary Queen Sheherazade, and riddles from the Persian tradition.

Time: 12–12.30pm and 3–3.30pm.

Les violoncellistes de l’Orient

Experience the evocative tone of the Turkish yayli tanbur juxtaposed with the modern cello as Nefes Ensemble’s Seher Cagin and Rachel Atkinson present improvisations and jewels from the Ottoman classical music repertoire.

Time: 12.30–1pm and 3.30–4pm.

Behind the scenes at the Bodleian Libraries – a keeper’s tale

The Love and devotion exhibition includes the largest number of the Bodleian Libraries’ Persian manuscripts ever to leave Oxford at one time. Join Dr Gillian Evison, Head of the Bodleian Libraries’ Oriental Section, for an illustrated talk about the Bodleian’s role in the development of the exhibition.

Time: 1–2pm.

Exhibition Website here.