digital flower
Spearheaded by collector and patron Kamiar Maleki, Present the Future is a hybrid artist residency, that brings together British musician Tinie Tempah and French-Iranian artist Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar in the creation of audio-visual NTF artworks. As the project kicks off in the South of France, LUX discovers more

There are few places that would make a more idyllic setting for an artist residency than the French Riviera and this is exactly where French-Iranian artist Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar and British musician Tinie Tempah have set up base – at the Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat, to be precise – for seven intense days of creative collaboration from 7 to 13 June.

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While it might all sound a little grand, the luscious landscapes and vibrant colours of the Côte d’Azur have been attracting artists and writers for centuries. On his arrival in 1917, Matisse was so taken with the sun-drenched vistas that he decided to settle in the south of France for the rest of his life. Years later, Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar found himself similarly drawn to the timeless Mediterranean landscape and now lives and works in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. Collaborating with hip-hop pioneer Tinie Tempah, however, is something new and altogether unexpected for the painter.

“Having been in a creative dialogue with Tinie for the past year, we wanted to work on a project together, and during a conversation with curator and fair director Kamiar Maleki, and after meeting Dumi Oburota [Tinie’s manager] we came up with the idea of establishing an artist residency that was not just focused on the traditional art form but also interlinked the contemporary, music and digital worlds together into a hybrid collaboration never seen before,” he says.

floral painting

Pink Future, Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar (top), and the painting’s digital transformation into an NFT artwork

“We are both music and art lovers and share in common that nomadic lifestyle,” adds the musician. “After picking up some of Sassan’s work last year, we discussed working on something game changing together, and here we are.”

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The audio-visual NTFs works created during the residency will build on Behnam-Bakhtiar’s signature painting style of peinture raclée and his recurring floral symbols, and will be presented alongside a live music and spoken word performance by Tinie Tempah, and a panel discussion moderated by art auctioneer Simon de Pury. Future residencies are also planned, but the locations are yet to be revealed.

“Our goal is to present to the world’s first hybrid digital / physical NFT production and minting experience, combining the work of two immensely important artistic visionaries in a setting that promises to instil a sense of awe and wonder, inspiring in the process new levels of conviviality and creativity,” says the project’s curator Kamiar Maleki.

The works created during the project will be auctioned via the Nifty Gateway platform starting on 21 July 2021.

For more information, visit: presentthefuture.art