Ghabaian, who has managed the gallery for over 18 years, told the Persian service of ISNA that she was greatly surprised by France’s decision to give her the honor. 

“I don’t know why the organizers decided to honor me with this medal. But I know that I’ve always wanted to expand Iran’s cultural ties with other countries, especially with France, as I lived and was educated there,” she said.

She also noted that the gallery has held several art and photo exhibitions in France to introduce Iranian art to the youth.   Awarded by the French government, the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor medal is one of the most coveted trophies in the world of art and culture. 

It has been awarded to over 30 Iranian artists, including painter Aydin Aghdashloo, actress Leila Hatami, calligrapher Gholamhossein Amirkhani, cartoonist Kambiz Derambakhsh, vocalist Shahram Nazeri and filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami. 

In 2014, Iranian composer and tar virtuoso Hossein Alizadeh declined to accept the award, stating that he doesn’t need decorations and that he derives satisfaction from his good name.

Source: Tehran Times