Leighton House, the former studio-house of Victorian artist Frederic, Lord Leighton (1830–1896), has launched a crowdfunding campaign through the Art Fund platform, Art Happens, to raise £17,300 in only 30 days (20 October – 19 November 2020). The funds will go towards creating Oneness, by artist Shahrzad Ghaffari, the first contemporary artwork for permanent display in the new wing of the Museum.
Members of the public are encouraged to donate online to earn access to a set of unique rewards, inspired both by the contemporary artwork and the traditional designs in Leighton House. The exclusive rewards include a printed tote bag (£25) or a decorated ceramic plate (£100) in reference to the collection on display in the Museum. Those making larger donations will have the opportunity to acquire one of Shahrzad Ghaffari’s original painted studies for Oneness and take part in a private ‘behind the scenes’ tour with the curator and the artist, while she works on the mural on site.
Daniel Robbins, Senior Curator at Leighton House said:
Creating a contemporary artwork that responds to the heritage of this iconic Victorian setting is the perfect way to set up a meaningful dialogue between the past, the present and the future of the Museum. It is only with the public’s support that we will be able to reach our £17,300 target and truly celebrate the completion of our capital project, preserving the historic fabric whilst opening up the Museum to a new public and extending its cultural significance. Has ‘Oneness’ ever been more needed than it is now?
Leighton House is currently undergoing an ambitious capital project to provide much-needed additional visitor and learning facilities, exhibition spaces and improved accessibility, thanks to a new lift and helical staircase built in the new wing. An 11-metre mural titled Oneness, by contemporary Iranian artist Shahrzad Ghaffari, has been commissioned to decorate the walls of this grand staircase and through the Art Happens campaign, donors will be able to help transform this architectural feature ‘into an everlasting artwork’, to be fully revealed in Autumn 2021 .
Ghaffari’s piece draws on a 13th-century Persian poem exploring universal themes of love and knowledge. The turquoise calligraphic shapes link back to the designs of the vast collection of Syrian and Turkish tiles in Leighton’s iconic Arab Hall, with the central spiral forms echoing the shapes and movement of the helical staircase itself. With this work, the artist intends to build a bridge between art, literature and architecture and presents a renewed interpretation of the fusion of East and West, that is part of the unique legacy of Leighton House.
Artist Shahrzad Ghaffari said:
This painting is a meeting of East and West and of old and new. It is a totem of union, evolving identity, and ultimately, an expression of love. As a young female artist, I am looking forward to seeing my work showcased as part of the permanent collection at the ‘new’ Leighton House.
Donate here to help transform the museum.