World Economic Forum paintings auctioned at Sotheby’s for The Lotus Flower

Sotheby’s are to auction a unique preparatory artwork of renowned Iranian political artist Mehdi Ghadyanloo. All proceeds from the sale will go to The Lotus Flower, to support our work in supporting women and girl refugees displaced by ISIS in the Middle East.

The son of a soldier and a carpet weaver, Ghadyanloo was inspired by western aesthetics and 21st century surrealism during his formative years and broke away from his rural life as a shepherd to pursue a career as an artist. Ghadyanloo has become the most prolific Iranian public artist with over 100 murals across the globe in the USA, the UK, Russia and his native Iran. Ghadyanloo’s works of art, often compared to the serene and surreal compositions of Magritte and Di Chirico, are imbued with brooding meditations on the sanctioned political landscape of his youth under the Islamic Republic and his own traumatising experiences of war.

In 2019 Ghadyanloo was invited to create the official artistic centerpiece for The World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Ghadyanloo’s resulting 600 sq/ft work espoused the importance of women’s equality and was seen by an audience of world leaders and international CEOs.

Ghadyanloo has made available the oil on canvas diptych, entitled Finding Hope, and which the inspiration for The World Economic Forum commission. Proceeds will be donated to The Lotus Flower NGO founded by Taban Shoresh, a Kurdistani-Iraqi genocide victim, who like Ghadyanloo, was raised by her mother while her father, a Peshmerga freedom fighter, likewise fought in the war against Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Shoresh adds, “Mehdi’s act of generosity towards The Lotus Flower is humbling. We are delighted that he has chosen to support us, as every penny raised from the auction will help us change more women and girls’ lives.”

Mehdi Ghadyanloo

Mehdi Ghadyanloo (b. 1981) is an Iranian artist known for his utopian and philosophical paintings that interrogate universal human precepts such as fear, hope and loss. Through the portrayal of minimal heterotopic environments, surreal architectural arrangements, and the repeated use of symbolic elements such as stairs, balloons and aeroplanes, Ghadyanloo invites us to consider new realities and the shared universality of our existence. Mehdi Ghadyanloo website:

The World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation. The Forum engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. It was established in 1971 as a not-for-profit foundation and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. It is independent, impartial and not tied to any special interests. The Forum strives in all its efforts to demonstrate entrepreneurship in the global public interest while upholding the highest standards of governance. Moral and intellectual integrity is at the heart of everything it does. Its activities are shaped by a unique institutional culture founded on the stakeholder theory, which asserts that an organization is accountable to all parts of society. The institution carefully blends and balances the best of many kinds of organizations, from both the public and private sectors, international organizations and academic institutions. The Forum believes that progress happens by bringing together people from all walks of life who have the drive and the influence to make positive change. The World Economic Forum website:


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