Oneness on display at the new Leighton House
The first contemporary artwork commissioned for permanent display in Leighton House will be an 11-metre-high mural by Iranian artist, Shahrzad Ghaffari.
Oneness is a spectacular 11-metre-high mural that will decorate the walls of Leighton House’s new helical staircase. This staircase has been built within an imposing brick rotunda, and is a key feature of our transformative project Hidden Gem to National Treasure, which comes to an end in 2022. Hand-painted by Iranian artist, Shahrzad Ghaffari, who will work exclusively on this commission from January to March this year, this artwork will instil new life to the interlacing of East and West at the centre of Frederic Leighton’s unique legacy.
"One I Seek, One I Know, One I See, One I Call" - Rumi
In Oneness Ghaffari draws on a 13th-century Persian poem by Rumi exploring universal themes of love and knowledge, weaving words into abstract form. The central visual motif, the turquoise calligraphic brushstrokes, pays homage to the traditional designs of the Middle-Eastern tiles in Leighton’s Arab Hall while its spiralling form echoes the helical structure of the staircase. The mural will bring a fresh perspective on the fusion of cultures and the close relationship between art and architecture found in the Victorian interiors at Leighton House, creating ‘oneness’ between the past, the present and the future of the museum.
Oneness responds to how art, craft, design and architecture speak as one in the elegant spaces of Leighton House. The mural draws on 13th-century Persian poem exploring universal themes of love and knowledge weaving ancient traditions into abstract form and reflecting on ideas of union, renewal and cultural fusion.
Meet Shahrzad Ghaffari
Born in 1972 into a family that nurtured the renowned Iranian painters Sani-ol-Molk Ghaffari and Kamal-ol-Molk Ghaffari, Shahrzad continues a tradition that spans more than 150 years. Devoted to painting from an early age, she is inspired by ancient Persian poetry. Her paintings channel mysticism into a new visual language, exploring the metaphysics of love, where human union touches the divine.
Shahrzad divides her time between Iran and Canada and her works have been acquired by collectors in the Middle East, Europe and the U.S.
The public’s favourite
Oneness has been made possible thanks to the overwhelming support of more than 200 donors from our Art Happens crowdfunding campaign in late 2020, helping us secure this special commission which will mark a new era in the history of Leighton House. We are sincerely grateful to everyone who supported the project - we could not have done it without you.
Shahrzad will be working on site from January - follow exciting projects updates on our social media platforms and subscribe to our e-newsletter for exclusive sneak-peeks of work in progress. You can also read more about Oneness at Leighton House in the following press articles: