Mehdi Ghadyanloo is a prolific Iranian painter and illustrator. Since receiving a BA in Painting and an MA in Animation, Mehdi has created a huge amount of large scale outdoor wall paintings, including more than a hundred murals in Iran, as well as a number of canvas and resin works.
Photograph: Oystein Haara
If there was one piece of art you could feature in, which would it be and why?
One Night Cafe by Vincent van Gogh. I wish I was in that cafe at the time he painted it, or could simply watch van Gogh while he completed it. It seems to have changed alongside my own emotions and feelings at different moments.
Who inspires you and why? an artist, a family member, someone current or historical?
My grandmother has always been the biggest inspiration for me. She creates wonderful carpets and is so in touch with colour, she combines them so naturally and easily - it’s a joy to watch.
What are your cultural aspirations? what do you still want to see, do and achieve?
I wish to paint every village around the world with the help of children. From Iran to Afghanistan to Africa - I want us to paint on walls around the world whilst smiling and enjoying life. Similarly, I started a small foundation named Happiness Instate with my university students, which opened a school in a village.
What are your favourite cultural cities in the world and why?
Yazd, Iran, because of the unique shape of the architecture - the curves of the buildings remind me of an abstract painting of the human body, promoting a feeling of welcoming kindness with only limited colours.
What are you up to at the moment and where can we find it?
My new exhibition, 'Mirage of Redemption', debuted at Galleri GEO in Norway on Friday, August 22nd. It's a 20 piece series inspired by human life, and traverses both history and race in 10 canvas and 10 resin works. The exhibition seeks to uncover the truth about hope, and explores the theme of redemption and the impact these have on the world. Galleri GEO is a great art institution that creates lots of shows with international artists, so I’m very happy to be working with them, and their curator Gard Eiklid, on this exhibition. www.gallerigeo.no August 2014.