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January 26, 2020

World’s tallest mural by single artist inaugurated at Karachi's Centrepoint

Karachi

January 26, 2020

The world’s tallest mural by a single artist — Italy’s Giuseppe Percivati — was formally inaugurated on Saturday evening at the Centrepoint located on Karachi’s Shaheed-e-Millat Expressway.

The mural is part of the project that is an initiative of the International Public Art Festival (IPAF) under I AM Karachi (IAK), in collaboration with the Consulate General of Italy, TPL Corp and Berger Paints.

Percivati has decorated a 285.36-foot-high wall of the building. Speaking at the launch, the Italian artist said that it took nine days for him to paint the wall. “I first came in July to find the location, and we visited around five different sites, but as soon as I saw the Centrepoint building, I knew this was the perfect place,” he said.

He added that he cannot take all the credit for the mural because a lot of people are involved. He wished to return to the metropolitan city again and come up with more projects. “Karachi is a beautiful city, but it has been sort of neglected a bit. Sometimes it’s like — I don’t want to offend anyone — the city of dust,” he said, and laughed. But he reiterated that Karachi is indeed a beautiful city.

The mural reflects Karachi’s coastline and that the mangroves are endangered. An eagle, especially found in the city around the record-breaking million mangroves planted across a 350km coast, is elegantly drawn with its shadow.

There’s a red dot on the top of the painting that dates back to Britain’s greatest art rivalry in the 18th century between renowned painters Joseph Mallord William Turner, known contemporarily as William Turner, and John Constable.

Constable’s painting ‘The Opening of Waterloo Bridge’ was hung alongside Turner’s latest seascape. The surface of Constable’s painting stood out casting its rival in the shade. Turner, with his brush and palette, put a hot red dot in the middle of his green painted sea, changing the entire look and feel of his work. Suddenly, it looked exciting and experimental.

That historic red dot had profound influence on the birth of modern art — the concept of less is more — and interestingly, the mural at the Centrepoint also carries the red dot.

Jameel Yousuf, former chief of the Citizens-Police Liaison Committee and a patron of the IAK, said the mural is now regarded as an iconic example of public-private partnership as the best example of public art in the city of over 20 million people. “This 286-feet-tall mural, Rising Blue, tracing Karachi’s stunning coastline is the world’s tallest.”

IAK President Amin Hashwani said that it is a pretty daunting feeling standing underneath this mural. “I’m sure this mural will last for centuries to come. Hopefully, the building will last as well,” he smiled and looked towards Yousuf, who owns Centrepoint. Hashwani said they always thought what a handful of people could do for a city of 20 million plus people. “We thought of becoming trendsetters and catalyse certain things. For example, painting the walls. We did about 5,000 of them.”

He added that it had started a movement, and now throughout the country people were painting walls. “It is a part of reclaiming spaces,” he explained.

Consul General of Italy in Karachi Anna Ruffino said Italy is supporting the IPAF in order to improve the image of the city. “This mural is a message of peace and friendship,” she said, adding that it also highlights the environmental hazards the city is facing. “The subject is in fact the conservation of the mangroves forest in Pakistan, especially along the coast.”

IAK Executive Director Ambareen Thompson announced that the IPAF will be held at the NED University of Engineering & Technology from February 7 to February 13.