An Iranian Artist Will Paint the Next Greenway Wall Mural

Work begins on Friday.
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‘Life Cycle’ (detail) by Mehdi Ghadyanloo.

A brand-new, mind-bending mural is about to take shape in Dewey Square.

Mehdi Ghadyanloo, a 35-year-old Iranian artist has been picked by the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy to paint the 76-foot-by-70-foot surface that has come to be known as the “Greenway Wall.”

Ghandyanloo’s Boston piece, which is his first in the U.S., is called Spaces of Hope, but what exactly it will be remains a secret. The process of painting it is set to begin on Friday and last several weeks. Another original from Ghadyanloo will soon be on display at City Hall, the Conservancy announced this week.

“Ghadyanloo’s Greenway Wall will showcase the incredible visual illusions and concepts that set his work apart,” says Lucas Cowan, the Greenway’s public art curator, in a release.

Ghadyanloo’s reputation precedes him. He’s painted no fewer than 100 murals in Tehran, and his imaginative, three-dimensional style has captured the attention of the art world. His pieces elsewhere have been surreal, varied terrains, often of people and vehicles in motion. They tend to involve perspective tricks and impossible gravity—in his paintings, people float through passageways, dangle from balloons, and bicycle upside down, cars float through the air, and solid walls become walkways leading out to the horizon.

“I have a surreal mind and I saw many dreams before and in my mind I always fight with gravity of the earth,” he told the website Your Middle East in 2014, “and I felt that people here in Tehran need more fun in the streets, then I started to paint.”

The Greenway Wall, due to its grandeur, location near South Station, and the ambitious, controversy-provoking murals that have appeared there, has become one of the city’s best-known venues for public art since its first mural debuted in 2012.

The most recent painting there was Lawrence Weiner’s A Translation from One Language to Another (which is simply its title written in orange block letters against a blue background).

Spaces of Hope will be the fifth mural in the space, which is updated annually. The piece will also be the first the Greenway Conservancy curated on its own, after years of collaborations with local institutions. 

“We view our public art program, and especially the Greenway Wall in Dewey Square Park, as a high-profile opportunity to bring thought-provoking contemporary art into the daily lives of those working, living, and visiting the City of Boston,” says Jesse Brackenbury, executive director for the Greenway Conservancy, in a statement. “We’re delighted that private support can bring a rising star and his ground-breaking, perspective-altering murals to the U.S.”

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Mehdi Ghadyanloo’s piece will be the fifth mural to grace the Greenway Wall. Photo courtesy of the Greenway Conservancy.


Spencer Buell Staff Writer at Boston Magazine sbuell@bostonmagazine.com