Iranian street artists Ghadyanloo is transforming the face of Tehran with his dream-inspired murals, slowly taking over the otherwise lacklustre walls of the city where sanctions have otherwise stunted artistic growth.
Street art exploded in the Middle East largely due to the Arab Spring uprisings. However, there is another Middle Eastern nation that has slowly come to terms with street art changing the urban cityscape from unimaginative drab into a surreal mind-boggling dreamscape.
Ghadyanloo began decorating Tehran's high-rises about eight years ago, changing the face of the city's uninspired architectural spaces into surreal colourful masterpieces. Using images that appear to be gravity-defying or portholes to a new dimensions, each illustration is based on Ghadyanloo's own fictional “endless story.”
"Graffiti is illegal here in Iran, like in many other countries, so graffiti artists in Tehran work at nights. We have very good underground street artist [network]," Ghadyanloo explained to HuffPost. "As for other art fields, the economy in visual art and painting is a little better than it was eight years ago during the [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad presidency, but it all depends on economic boycotts against Iranian nuclear enrichment."
Although art is set to make a comeback, sanctions against Iran are hindering its development. Apparently, a massive fine art collection has been hiding in the storerooms beneath the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The museum would like to expands its facility, in hopes of showcasing rarely seen masterpieces by the likes of Picasso, Van Gogh, and Monet. The only thing stopping Iran from creating a permanent exhibition are the sanctions that have robbed arts and culture of all its funding.
Undeterred and optimistic though, Ghadyanloo continues to directly change the perception of street art with his countless pieces, which will surely be heralded when the arts return to the forefront of Iranian society.