PARIS – A huge fresco of a line of clasped hands has been unveiled on Friday beneath the Eiffel Tower in Paris in support of the humanitarian organization SOS Mediterranean.
“Beyond Walls” on the Champ de Mars in the French capital is the work of the artist known as Saype, who painstakingly sprayed the giant image of a chain of interlaced hands onto the grass.
The French artist, whose real name is Guillaume Legros, said on his website that he wanted to create “the largest human chain in the world, generate a real social movement and invite the crowds to benevolence” to combat the “polarized world” we live in.
The 15,000 m2 fresco depicts a chain of intertwined hands, inspired by rescuers and volunteers at the organization.
It marks the beginning of a three-year project around the world which will see it travel to 20 international cities, including Geneva, Berlin, London, Belfast and Buenos Aires.
The Eiffel Tower said on its website: “What a more beautiful symbol than to launch a fresco celebrating the human and mutual help, at the foot of the Eiffel Tower whose international influence and the image of universality are well established.”
Since 2013, Saype has been creating giant frescoes on grass, and his works often convey messages with social values.
He uses completely biodegradable paints based on natural pigments, such as chalk and charcoal.
The fresco is a natural, living work that will evolve over time and will eventually disappear with the regrowth of the grass and repeated passages of visitors.
Saype, who trained as a medic, has been supporting SOS Mediterranean for a number of years.
The hands in “Beyond Walls” were inspired from photos taken of rescuers and volunteers in a tribute to the association’s work.
In 2018, he realized a biodegradable fresco in Geneva, Switzerland, to raise awareness about the organization.
SOS Mediterranean is a European, maritime-humanitarian organization for the rescue of life in the Mediterranean.
It was founded in 2015 in order to save people in distress in the Mediterranean Sea, the world’s most deadly migration route.