Mehdi Ghadyanloo’s generously donated oil on canvas diptych, entitled Finding Hope, achieved a sale price of £32,500 at Sotheby’s. All proceeds were donated to The Lotus Flower. The auctioned paintings were the preparatory study and inspiration for Ghadyanloo’s recent commission at the World Economic Forum summit in Davos, Switzerland.
The collaboration came about after Tehran based Ghadyanloo and Lotus Flower founder, Taban Shoresh, met in London and discovered that both of their fathers were fighting against Saddam Hussein in the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, leading them to live in Tehran at the same time for a short time. The pair bonded over a mutual desire to trigger hope in their homeland, having both come from backgrounds of poverty, persecution and war.
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 centrepiece 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.
Within Ghadyanloo’s preparatory paintings which recently raised £32,500 the balloon on one side must either rise or fall and eventually burst. Sitting next to the the balloon a glinting needle hangs like a damoclean sword endangering the fragile hope that the balloon represents. It it is crucial to notice thought that the needle is also threaded, and therefore as apt for creation and repair as for destruction.
The Lotus Flower strive for a world where vulnerable girls and women are safe, have access to education, are empowered to participate in their communities, and are able to drive social and economic change through the charity’s pillars of education, livelihood, wellbeing, mental health, peace building and human rights and gender equality.
Taban Shoresh said: “Mehdi’s act of generosity towards The Lotus Flower is humbling. We are delighted that he has chosen to support us and overwhelmed by the phenomenal amount raised, it will help us change so many women and girls’ lives.
“We are planning to use the sale proceeds to continue our work in Kurdistan, supporting the women and girls’ centres, enabling us to continue running much needed projects. The funds raised by the auction will help to run one of our women and girl’s centres for one year!”