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On March the 5th I had the pleasure and luck to have attended the atmospheric set-up of Mehdi Ghandyanloo’s Spaces of Hope exhibition, curated by Howard Griffin Gallery.

Lucky, because it was a rainy Sunday afternoon, the closing day of the exhibit, and the Ambika P3, the former industrial testing facility near Baker Street, was all left for my friend and myself (the next couple of visitors literally walked in only as we were leaving the exhibition!). And it was just the experience that added even more meaning to the serene works of Ghandyanloo, the Iranian artist who lives and works in the country, having grown up there during the Iran-Iraq war.

On entering I immediately had this confused feeling – do I feel happy or do I feel sad? as I was looking at each work that cosily sat in the darkness of the industrial walls, only spot-lit to reveal the painting itself and nothing more.

Silence and suspense – as if you were holding your breath, awaiting something to happen, good or bad – who knows.

The lines are so clean, so right, it could be heaven or hell; the soft colours and the light – streaming through somewhere it is not supposed to be coming through in this layout – are melancholic, but your human nature somehow tells you that regardless of what’s to come next – in this very moment there is this, maybe unreasonable, hope that it will be alright. That the ladders actually lead somewhere light and bright, that something good is behind that wall at dawn, that there will be peace and well-being.

And while the first world carry on shouting about how depressing the perspective for our planet and humanity is, those actually in the epicentre of the tragedy and hardship whisper about how good it can still be.