It was during the 1970s that the Finnish artist Eila Hiltunen travelled to the Middle East, resulting in major public works in Tehran and Jeddah. She met Mayor Farsi several times in Saudi Arabia and Finland between 1977 and 1982, and completed a number of works for the city, including Sunflower Field and Flame of Life. Another version of this sculpture, Flame of Life, is at Tampere University Hospital in Finland.
The sculptor Eila Hiltunen was born in Sortavala, Eastern Finland (now part of Russian Karelia) in 1922. She studied sculpture at the Finnish Art Academy in Helsinki before setting up her studio where she made the transition from early figurative sculptures to modernist, non figurative work (such as the monumental Sibelius monument in Helsinki, 1967), and from traditional materials to welded steel. Later she worked from a renovated medieval tower in a small Tuscan village located between Rome and Florence. In 1982 she was awarded the title Commendatore for her contribution to ItaloFinnish relations.