Switzerland and Oman is celebrating its 50th anniversary of bilateral relations, Switzerland is committed to closer bilateral cooperation in the field of sustainability. As part of the celebration, the Swiss Embassy in Oman invited the Swiss-French graffiti artist Saype to create a giant fresco in Oman. The work of over 10,000 m2 of eco-friendly paint was created in the country’s largest solar power plant in Ibri and symbolises cooperation on a sustainable world for future generations.
The artwork in Oman was made on March 11th at the Ibri solar farm. Energy management is certainly one of the major challenges of our ever-accelerating world. Our contemporary civilization was built on fossil fuels, but today we must look to the future and seek sustainable solutions to keep the earth habitable. It is with the major environmental issues of our time in mind that I chose to paint in one of the largest solar farms in the Middle East (11,3 km²). Being aware that the solution centres around a complex energy mix and in a form of sobriety, I chose to paint this child playing with the magic of solar energy. Looking towards the horizon, he symbolizes the renewal of a civilization that must now reinvent itself to continue to grow without destroying the planet.
This year, the Sultanate of Oman and the Swiss Confederation are celebrating 50 years of diplomatic relations. The two countries share many commonalities. Not only are both countries committed to promoting peaceful coexistence and tolerance or act as facilitators in conflicts. Switzerland and Oman also share a common commitment to sustainability. Both countries have taken steps to reduce their carbon footprint and set themselves the goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. To reach this goal, it is important to develop innovative solutions that will transform our economy and society. Oman has a huge potential in developing solar and wind power – and Switzerland is leading in developing new technological approaches in the energy and sustainability sector. Hence, marrying the potentials of the two countries will certainly help both to reach their ambitious goals within the Agenda 2050. It, therefore, seemed natural for the Swiss Embassy in Oman to invite the world-renowned artist SAYPE, whose work focuses on these very topics, to come to the Sultanate as part of Switzerland’s contribution to the Oman Sustainability Week and express this special relationship between the two countries through one of SAYPE’s ephemeral artwork.
Self-taught artist, Saype is known today for his paintings on grass, made with eco-responsible paint. Certainly one of the most publicized artists in 2019, he was notably named by the famous magazine Forbes as one of the thirty most influential personalities under the age of thirty in the world, in the field of art and Culture. In 2012, just a nurse, challenged by the revolt of the Arab Spring, Saype questions the meaning of our existence and our place in society. He begins to paint scenes in the subway in black and white, where people crowd daily, in an underground greyness well known to our megalopolises. While Saype explores a rather introspective workshop work, he has been developing a new artistic approach since 2012. Based on the premise that graffiti is diluted in the pollution of our current societies, and that, by extension, no one has any regard for them, Saype seeks to find a new way to appeal to people.
Influenced by his readings, his questions as well as the democratization of drones in Europe which gives him easy access to aerial views, he began to paint on the grass. He then invented a 100% biodegradable paint and perfected a process which enabled him to create gigantic frescoes on the ground. He is now considered a pioneer of a new land art movement. Since then, these frescoes travel around the world, with a concern to appeal to people and society, minimizing their impact on nature. Its main objective is to put its art at the service of the human being, always with a concern for optimism and in a poetic way. In 2018, his self-funded project, in support of the SOS Mediterranean association, carried out in the heart of Geneva, had a considerable media impact since it was seen all over the world and by 120 million people. Following this popular impulse, the Swiss confederation proposed a pavilion for the association’s boat, then blocked on the ground and caught in the European political turmoil around migration.
With this experience and this ability to mobilize thanks to his art, in 2019, Saype embarked on a project of global scope. His Ambition: To symbolically create the largest human chain in the world. This pharaonic project called “Beyond Walls”, over several years aims to pass in more than 30 cities of the world, to invite people to mutual aid, and kindness and to live together. Begun in June 2019 at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, on the Champ de Mars closed to the public for the first time in its history, for two weeks for the event, this fresco has once again left its mark. Supported by the famous British daily newspaper The Guardian which devoted 3 magazine covers to it throughout June, relayed by several hundred media and inaugurated by the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, this work has been seen by 500 million people around the world.
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