Lida Sherafatmund: Success in St Petersburg

Internal World of Calmness, oil on canvas 80 x 100 cm, by Lida (Credit: Christian Sant Fournier) Internal World of Goodness, oil on canvas, 100 x 160 cm (Credit: Christian Sant Fournier) Internal World of Intellect, oil on canvas, 160 x 100 cm (Credit: Christian Sant Fournier) Lida in front of the St Petersburg State Roerich Family Museum-Institute (Credit: Markus J.Tshcann) St Petersburg exhibition poster

The inspirational, Maltese-based Iranian artist Lida Sherafatmund is currently holding an exhibition of her oil paintings in St Petersburg, Russia. I asked her a few questions on the occasion. What is the theme of your exhibition and where in St Petersburg is it being held? The theme of the exhibition is expressed in its title ‘Internal Worlds, External Relations’. The paintings express our different internal states of life or internal worlds. Then through public lectures/seminars, I link these internal worlds to our external relations, as they have an influence on the way we interact with other individuals and the rest of society. My research in international relations comes in very handy at this point. The exhibition is being held at the St Petersburg State Roerich Family Museum-Institute, which also has a branch in New York. How come Russia? The Russian artist Nicholas Roerich (1874-1947), after whom the museum is named, is one of my main role models due to his aspirations for and success in the betterment of people’s lives around the world. He strengthened the relationship between countries on an international scale. He was not only a painter, but also a philosopher, a poet and more. He is the source of my inspiration to develop different talents and integrate them. I feel content to have been able to integrate my academic research and knowledge with my painting as well as poetry. The museum saw my artistic portfolio and invited me to hold an exhibition and give public seminars on my works, and that is how Russia came into the picture. Is this your first solo show? Oh no… I have had many solo shows before – two at the United Nations building in New York, one in 2002, and one in 2005. Then several solo shows in Malta, and other countries. I have shown my works in 15 countries so far. Will you be presenting the same exhibits in Malta or any other country? Yes, the works will move around to other places, including Malta, London, Brussels, and others. I will be adding a few more pieces to the next shows. You lived in Paris for some time? How has your experience living there affect your artistic development? The Paris years have had much influence both on my artistic development and my personal growth, which are both closely linked. In Paris, I was closely observing how artists work, how the art world functions, and what the general trends in terms of artistic mentality and artistic practice are. I could then find enough confidence to affirm my path. In growing along this path I was able to further fine-tune my style, leading to a turning point in my visual language in 2011. But this turning point took complete shape in Malta after one year of my return from Paris. An artist never stops learning… it’s an ongoing process of maturation and development. That’s why personal growth and the artistic style one develops are closely linked. What has been your most enriching or fulfilling artistic experience? I must say so far these two weeks in St Petersburg have been my most fulfilling experience. The public responded incredibly well both to the paintings and the public lectures. On a number of occasions I saw that some people spilled a few tears in front of the paintings, and were further inspired through the public seminars. To be honest, I also got emotional seeing the sincere and positive response that I got from the attendees! What is your next project? That would be the moving of this exhibition to London, then Brussels, and then some other places in Europe, Asia and the USA. It’s a world touring project, which includes the painting exhibition and the public lectures. The lectures allow for dialogue with people from different cultures and I can really learn from their feedback, have heart-to-heart conversations, while at the same time exchange social scientific knowledge that is the result of my academic research. I am also about to start a PhD in International Relations with the University of Keele in the UK – my proposal has already been accepted. Do you ever think of moving country again? If so, where would choose to live and why? Hmm, I don’t know to be honest. I cannot answer this question at this point, but something tells me I’ll keep Malta as my base, even if I may build other artistic bases around the world. |
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