"The story of our flowers": Lida Sherafatmand's art

It was when I was writing my MA dissertation about Iranian painters for peace that I first came across Lida’s works. As I contacted her we started to have numerous talks and letters. I could sense her true enthusiasm and sense of responsibility as an artist. Although she left the turmoil of a country involved in a bloody war (Iran), and settled in a peaceful island (Malta), but she still kept a sense of devotion to the sacred task of caring towards others. Instead of forgetting the horrible inhumanities she had witnessed, she dedicated her life to express her objection towards cruelty and war with a unique and everlasting language: the language of art.

 

Receiving Stones, Lida Sherafatmand, oil on canvas, 100 x 80 cm, 2015

 

 

She had kindly sent high quality photos of her works to me for the sake of my research. Whenever I was in doubt while exploring the meaning behind a work she used to explain it with patience thoroughly.

 

After that project we were still in touch every now and then, so I learnt about her new projects and exhibitions. I have seen her growth as a committed artist who is ardent in her ideals. Her ideals have remained the same over the years but she has invented a new authentic language in painting in the meantime. Using the most beautiful element of nature, she has paved her career in establishing a new artistic style named Florescencism.

 

It is now about 6 years that she has been working on creating canvases full of vibrant and energetic flowers. The abundance of the flowers in her painting is an indication of the abundance in natural resources and the fairness of their allotment for communities and individuals. It provokes a sense of Mother Nature bestowing enough gifts for all humans.

 

 

The Art of Receiving, Lida Sherafatmand, 155 x 122 cm, oil on canvas, 2015

 

The choice of flowers as the main element of her artistic language is based on an intercultural understanding. In fact flowers are rather pivotal in the most critical moments of one’s life from birth to death, from graduation, wedding, or every happy or sad situation. In all these cases the flower is used as an expression of the sentiment or thought. The flower is used in all cultures and does not belong to a specific gender or race. It is a common use in all cultures from ancient times up to now, and in future too probably. In fact it is an essence of beauty and every intercultural act becomes more beautiful and effective with the use of a flower.

 

Lida’s process of painting is a somehow sacred ritual which begins with a sacred dance, meditation, and contemplation. The light of candles leads her soul to a bright and pure world of faith in life and a peace which brings her beautiful visions. Surrounded by serenity and clearness of mind, her deep and clean fervor towards a world of light and beauty brings her images which she then paints.

 

 

Florescencism is a style on which a large number of small flowers reside all along the canvas. Sometime they flow like heavy rains from the sky and sometimes they flow like rivers along the earth. Wherever we see on canvas there is full of blessing and peace, even dark sides of the picture end to an eternal light. There is no room for despair, hatred and greed.

 

Florescencism is a style in which a large number of small flowers reside all along the canvas. Sometime they flow like heavy rains from the sky and sometimes they flow like rivers along the earth. Wherever we look on the canvas there is a full sense of blessing and peace, even dark sides of the picture end to an eternal light. There is no room for despair, hatred and greed.

 

Figure 1 titled “Emotional Calm” takes place on a somehow neutral context of grey. This might be an indication of calmness and balance between warm and cold colors. The presence of scattered warm yellow and orange colored flowers again produce another general balance. The flowers seems to make virtual columns implicating a transcendental emotion toward an outer source of light.

 

Emotional Calm, Lida Sherafatmand, oil on canvas, 100×80 cm, 2017

 

 

The flowers that Lida shows us do not belong to her or any individual. They belong to all humans and people from any gender, race, and nationality. They are alphabets of an international language lovable and appealing for everyone.

 

Everyday Lida pursues the news from around the world. She sees and hears the sad news of war, terrorism, and various kinds of cruelty among people. All these news lead her to get more insight in creating more vibrant and peaceful scenes full of colorful flowers.

 

In an article of hers titled “Internal World, External Relations” Lida explains the scholarship behind her flowers and their relation to the realm of peace and harmony. There, she mentions some influential scholars from various fields of cultural studies and conflict resolution. She cites each internal situation, or as she states ‘internal world’ and then the effects of that situation on external relations both from one’s own side and from the external actor’s side. She has created one painting for each case illustrating the interaction between the internal and the external.

 

Figure 2 titled as “Volcano of Grace” can be considered a manifestation of a fundamental contrast in universe, the contrast between light and darkness. The void and dark background is broken by a glorious eruption of light which in turn brings out reddish pink blossoms.

 

A Volcano of Grace, Lida Sherafatmand, oil on canvas, 155 x 122cm, 2014

 

Figure 3 is also a manifestation of hope and peace. It seems that an eternal and sacred source of light is shining through an oval shape made up of thousands of small colorful blossoms. It seems that the so called sacred light has induced them into a sacred and harmonic dance. The flame-shape of the whole bunch which goes up to the upper margin is not of that kind burning life, but instead of that kind of flames which gives life and freshness. The external light permeates into the body and soul and let it transcend to the very high place in universe. This can be the time when miracle happens.

 

When Miracles Happen, Lida Sherafatmand, oil on canvas, 244×155 cm, 2014

 

Another side of Lida’s creative approach is the use of poems accompanying some of her paintings. This reminds me of some Far Eastern artistic conventions such as the Japanese and Chinese paintings. In fact, harmony with nature and internal peace are vividly presented in all details of the work. Here is an example of her poems:

 

 

When miracles Happen

When miracles Happen,

It’s the revival of our cells,

 

When miracles happen,

It’s the fresh scent of a perfume

Engulfing any air you walk into,

 

When miracles happen,

It’s the new life,

Of a joy immense in power,

Of a force unpararelled in its sweetness,

 

When miracles happen,

It’s the rejoice with the divine,

 

When miracles happen,

It’s the union of a love unsurpassed,

 

When miracles happen,

It’s the revival, the power,

Of the unspoken life,

 

When you call for life,

It’s when the miracles come …

 

When you open the door to life,

It’s when miracles happen.

 

When you open the door to love,

It’s when miracles happen.

 

Lida Sherafatmand

December 2013

 

The process of painting for Lida is somehow like a sacred ritual that starts with lighting candles, meditation and dance. She purifies first her inner world to extract the very peaceful essence of love from it and transfer it on canvas.

 

Lida is a hardworking painter and her next exhibition will be held in New York later on in the year. She has also recently been nominated finalist by the international jury’s board of Global Art Awards which is considered as “The Oscar for the Visual Arts” held in Dubai.

 

The way she has started her flower paintings seems to be an intercultural tool for a heart to heart connection. Her flowers are ever green and despite everyday sad news from all around the world they remain fresh and like many more are still to be blossoming further too.

 

White Rose, Lida Sherafatmand, oil on canvas, 150 x 120 cm

 

 

Dr. Ramin Hajian Fard is an Iranian Art Historian, researcher and lecturer. He has been active in various areas of art and culture namely Peace and Art, Intercultural Dialogue, Islamic Art, and Mughal Miniature Painting. He has been active in writing entries for encyclopedias and articles in Persian and English. He has also translated multiple books, articles, and book chapters, about music, art, and philosophy, into Persian for publication in Iran. He was the winner of the second prize for publishing and research at the University of Applied Science and Technology, Iran, 2013. There he has also gained the prize for the Lecturer of year 2015-2016. Although not much these days, but he has been also involved in creating works of art, namely composing music. The album titled “The Sound of Snow” including twelve pieces for solo piano composed by him was recorded in Armenia and published in Iran in 2002.

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