The iranian artist Lida Sherafatmand started painting by the age of 3, after her hometown, Khorramshahr was bombarded and vanished completely. She was born a couple of years before the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and her city was the first to be attacked at the beginning of the Iran-Iraq war. Members of her family were executed due to their opposition to the new government and in the midst of the horrors, she started to wonder why was it so hard for the world to live in peace. Thus, leading her to decide to dedicate her life and talent to the promotion of peace.
The intellectual search for answers to these questions, and the desire of my heart to see people happy, as well as my aesthetic sensitives and passion for beauty, have brought me to paint what I paint today. – Lida Sherafatmand, London School of Economics, 2016.
The painter’s family settled in Malta, where she developed her skills and joined the art school at the age of 19. In 2011, she obtained a master’s degree in International Relations and joined the think-tank Global Harmony Association, which opened the doors to a new path where she could discuss her points of view not only as an artist, but as well as an academic researcher.
After 2012, the artist started to develop a new research, based on the artistic concept of Florescencism: flor, in latin and derived languages as Portuguese and Spanish, means “flower”, which are depicted in her paintings as the main subject; meanwhile meaning also flourishing of an individual or a civilization. The research is compiled in a paper called “Internal Worlds, External Relations” and was presented in distinguished universities as the State Roerich Family Museum and Institute in St. Petersburg, in 2013. One year later at the London School of Economics and Political Science and in 2016, at the Radcliffe Harvard University.
Her paintings depict florals as the main figures portrayed, expressing movements and creating larger pictures. According to the painter, this method is intended to express philosophical thoughts inspired by social sciences researches on peace, serving as the middle ground between propositions from the past and present in the East and West. The flowers are a touch of Persian contemporary miniatures by Mahmoud Farshchian and intends to continue the work of Georgia O’Keefe, as well as adding concepts of spirituality.
The painter’s interest to chose flowers as a way of expressing her thoughts through art derived from the association they have with women, as she believes the world needs feminine touch to understand how to be closer with each other. As well as the uses of flowers and plants for tea and their healing effects. Moreover, due to the meaning behind society’s approach to the gesture of giving flowers in certain occasions, as funerals, births, marriages. Therefore, she affirms that for each painting, she tries to match the proper flower with the message she wants the viewer to understand.
The florescencism way of painting consists of eight main pillars, influenced by the neurological theory of professors Ramachandran and Hirstein of the “eight laws of artistic experience” and the painter affirms that through the neurological understanding of them it becomes possible to transcend cultural, educational, status and other social barriers when connected to the art work, which are:
- Multiplication of flowers: attempts to create a counterpoising to scarcity and fear associated with economic crisis, with multiple flowers giving the sense of overflow and surplus;
- Directionality and movement: instigating a sense of progression and evolution, as we are evolving all the time;
- Point of infinity and luminescence: when the flowers move away they tend to disappear, creating a sensation of mystery and indistinguishableness that interconnects all humans;
- Ancient symbols of warmth and beauty: as the peacock plumage and the phoenix, which in the artist’s point of view reconnects us to the roots of humanity;
- Meditative imagery: achieved through meditation, the artist depicts in the paintings the insights she sees from her heart;
- Organic overall structure: the flowers compose an organic design, often associated as a symbol of the females, it creates an image of beauty of nature and transcendence;
- Vibrant color palettes: used as a way of representing freshness and vibrancy;
- Controlled but expressive brush strokes: to reflect a conscientious manner of expressing one’s self, as in the feelings we come upon through the experiences we are part of.
On a video in YouTube for her channel, the artist tells us that her process of painting consists of: meditation, when she focuses on what her heart wants her to see; painting, where she expresses her heart’s blossoming of feelings and wishes and lastly, writing poetry about what she painted, to try to understand the meaning shown on the colors and figures. Another part of the process is dancing, where she expresses the emotions she feels through movement of the body and later it becomes the movements of the brushes.
Hence, it is possible to understand how the act of painting, which seems simple and easy, or just a way to express our feelings, is executed by Ms. Sherafatmand with deep seriousness and through a complex process of getting in touch with our inner emotions in order to capture the substance of human development. Consequently, the theory of Internal Worlds and External Relations, based not only on researches by peace scholars, is underpinned as well in the human condition as its core.
The painter researched and tried to understand concepts which are almost unimaginable or too metaphorical for the average person. Her intentions are ambitious and honorable, performed with the grace and courage of someone who has seen the worst aspects of the human being, but still manages to believe we have a brighter side in which we should rely upon.