FORBES: How Iranian Artist Mehdi Ghadyanloo Brings ‘Hope’ to the World (Economic Forum 2019)

Iranian artist Mehdi Ghadyanloo was commissioned to create a compelling 186 square metre triptych called ‘Finding Hope’ for this year’s Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum 2019 in Davos.

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Ghadyanloo is an artist whose works of art play with light, space and perception. His public murals encourage passers-by to stop, be still and transport themselves deep into the images he creates. He aims to transform our cityscapes from dull and desperate to hopeful and happy through utopian imagery. This helps to build up better morale and inspires us to take action. In his position as a ‘WEF’ Cultural Leader, above all, he speaks of a desire for things to be different.

I caught up with him in Davos during the WEF, to explore how his creativity can be a driver of change:

Mehdi Ghadyanloo, What was the inspiration for your Davos artwork and why did you call it ‘Finding Hope’?

It’s especially exciting for me to have received the invitation to create these artworks. From an initial visit to Iran by the Head of Culture from the WEF some three years ago where I showcased some of my work, this project has grown in scope to what we see today. I guess so many people just feel so anxious right now. They’re asking what’s going to happen next. Sometimes it’s hard to stay optimistic but it’s always best to. There are so many challenges dominating the lives of so many people. I question the apparent perpetuity of conflict and what it means for the innocent. Having those three facing walls right at the heart of the Davos Conference gave me the chance to prompt some thought around the power of hope. It was important for me to set out how hope gives energy to keep moving as we work together to change the world.

“Finding Hope” by Iranian Artist Mehdi Ghadyanloo for the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum 2019 in Davos

What does ‘Hope’ mean to you?