Art NewsPainting

Intellectual flowers flourish at Tokyo’s most iconic station

From 5th to 11th March 2019, more than 2 million passengers who pass through the Shibuya Station in Tokyo will see the detailed floral paintings of Lida Sherafatmand, who depicts identity, nationalism, and corruption as part of the main international social concerns of today.

This Iranian-born artist with international recognition dissects with these pictorial works how a national identity is built by the cherry-picking of existing characteristics. The painting “Iran’s Soul” is inspired by the academic book “Psycho-Nationalism: Global thought, Iranian imaginations” (Cambridge University Press, 2017) by Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, a London-based philosopher specialised in global politics and the Middle East. The symbolism of this painting mirrors also the core concept of the book: the true identity of a country lies in the daily lives of its people.

Besides the painting “Iran’s soul”, two more paintings of Lida on issues of international concern will be exhibited at the Shibuya Station: “Correction Force – Lucifer’s Banker”, which explore the relation between art and banking corruption, based on the book of the UBS whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld, and “The Four Pulls of Vitruvian Man – A Cultural Theory of International Relations” -on the occasion of 500 years anniversary of Leonardo Da Vinci.  The latter is based on the academic book “A Cultural Theory of International Relations” by Richard Ned Lebow.

Ms. Sherafatmand has coined the artistic concept of “Florescencism” and brings it to Japan by showing the essence of a flower that transcends its mere physical appearance.  “If I can pass on knowledge through symbolism and beauty of flowers, I am happy to be speaking to my audience with the gentle language of flowers, because my eyes have seen enough of violence.  Florescencism is a philosophy of flowering based on human nature, with a floral language in painting. It is my humble contribution both to the artistic world, and to the field of international relations,” describes Ms. Sherafatmand.

Shibuya is one of the most colorful and busy districts in Tokyo, and also a meeting point for fashion and culture. Born in Iran in 1977 Lida lived life circumstances of war, revolution, and persecution, later on grew up as refugee dealing with statelessness, loss of wealth and poverty. Due to those experiences she feels a responsibility in her art works to contribute to her surroundings. As quoted in an interview with The Guardian her motto is: “The more I hear violent news, the more I paint gentle flowers.” The artistic itinerary of Lida started at three years old when her birth city in the south of Iran, Khorramshahr, got completely destroyed in war bombardments at the beginning of Iran-Iraq war. She draws this as the map of Iran by adding shadows of the chosen flowers while others shine on the ground.

Throughout the 20 years of career, this renowned artist has exhibited at Atrium Galley, London School of Economics and Political Science in London, at Roerich Museum, in St Petersburg, Russia, at Tokyo International Art Fair and at Palais des Nations of the United Nations headquarter in Geneva, among others. In addition in 2018 she has been awarded fellowship of post-doctoral level “Artist in Residence” by HWK Institute for Advanced Studies in Germany, the Woman Art Award 2017,  by Europe Art Awards and MUSA International Art Space in 2017, she was a finalist in Global Art Awards in Dubai in 2017/2018, also as “Artist for Peace” by the Association of World Citizens (AWC) at the United Nations in Geneva in 2010.

Lida is very interested in the links between political corruption and banking which often go hand in hand in the international scene and the state of the art. Her painting “Correction Force – Lucifer’s Banker”, illustrates the forces of corruption as burning fire, and the correction forces as water putting out the fire, all that graphed in the shape of an iris flower. Another of her paintings in this exhibition is “The Four Pulls of Vitruvian Man – A Cultural Theory of International Relations”, symbolizes the four fundamental forces: fear, rationality, appetite, and spirit (self-esteem and honour) which push people to be part of a collective and take actions within a collective.  Ms. Sherafatmand called this ‘Vitruvian Man’ in which Leonardo da Vinci illustrated the proportions of a human within geometrical shapes of circle of square, now she adds the cultural forces to it.

“These paintings nicely capture the theme and also the tensions of my study of international relations. Better still, it is in colour in contrast to my drab black-and-white.”, commented Richard Ned Lebow, a reputed American scholar.

“Ms. Sherafatmand inspires inner feelings of passion to blossom with her artistic expression in her paintings.”, commented Bradley Birkenfeld who disclosed the world biggest bank scandal in 2007.

The exhibition runs from 5th to 11 March 2019, at Shibuya Station, Tokyo, Japan

For more information on Lida Sherafatmand:


For interviews:

Javier Calero

Communication officer

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