Boston Art Scene: Red Balloons of Hope on the Greenway

boston art spaces of hope greenway mural

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The next installation in our Boston art highlight series is one you’re familiar with if you commute from South Station; “Spaces of Hope” by Mehdi Ghadyanloo. The mural is painted upon the tunnel vent building at the corner of Purchase and Congress streets, facing Dewey Square Park. The mural is part of a running series painted on the vent building, with previous installations including “Translation” and an iconic (albeit controversial) Os Gemeos piece. However, this is the first mural in the series sponsored solely by the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy; museums or other institutions co-sponsored all others.

Installed in October 2016, the mural uses perspective to depict what looks like the interior of the vent building. Revealed inside are hundreds of life sized people waiting in line with red balloons. They weave their way through the dark building and up a spiral staircase until they reach the very top, where a balloon far larger than the rest is ready to be released through a circular hole in the roof.

Bringing Hope through Boston Art

boston art medhi ghadyanloo with mural

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Ghadyanloo says he aims to evoke feelings of happiness and imagination in his works, and this Boston art piece is no exception. Although the work is painted in mostly dark tones, the big red balloon rising through the ceiling shows how hope can be all we need to pull ourselves out of a bad place. The smaller balloons carried by people in line show how the hopes of individuals are getting them through their own struggles, and combined can do something even more powerful like the large balloon at the top.

Ghadyanloo used a gradual blending technique to get the smooth transitions in shade while still keeping colors crisp. This technique took a while and actually delayed the completion of the project.

Global Inspiration

Medhi Ghadyanloo paints Boston Art Spaces of Hope

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Ghadyanloo is from Tehran, Iran. He completed over a hundred surrealist murals there before he came to America. The artist was in Iran during their difficult war with Iraq, and says this influenced his work on the greenway. He said the people in line are a reminder of those everywhere who are struggling, but still have hope. Ghadyanloo also took inspiration from the people of the city. He listened to Bostonian’s somber stories of the Marathon Bombing to find inspiration for the piece.

Check out the first installation in our #BostonArtScene series, the Mysterious Goddess of Northeastern!

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