KARACHI: A 285 feet tall mural by an Italian painter, Pepe Gaka, in this seaside metropolis may soon be declared the world’s tallest – and it highlights the urgency of protecting mangroves along Karachi’s coastline.
The wall painting, which will be completed on Saturday, “celebrates Karachi’s coastline and highlights the importance of mangroves, both of which are unfortunately endangered by environmental degradation,” Ambareen Thompson, Executive Director of “I AM KARACHI,” a non-government organization which has taken the initiative in collaboration with the International Public Art Festival, told Arab News on Thursday.
“Karachi’s coast is rich in resources, but there is a lot of pollution with untreated water flushing into it,” she said. “We want to use this mural to remind our policymakers that this is an invaluable asset that needs to be protected.”
The artist, Giuseppe Percivati, popularly known as Pepe Gaka, has been producing artworks that depict the relationship between humans and nature. He creates pieces that are in harmony with their surroundings, Thompson added.
The life of public murals was about 20 to 25 years, the artist revealed, adding that high-quality paint was used to create such pieces.
“In this mural, we have depicted Karachi’s coastline that goes up to India. The message we have here is about protecting the environment,” Gaka told Arab News, adding he had visited Karachi five times before and liked it a lot.
Tracing the beautiful Karachi coastline, the bird shown in the mural is found in the city's mangroves.
According to Thompson, the world’s second-tallest mural is 250 feet high and was painted by Sean Martindale in St. James Town, 200 Wellesley Street in Downtown Toronto, Canada.
“Ours is 285 feet high and thus the tallest one, or at least the tallest by any single artist,” Jameel Yusuf, Chairman of International Public Art Festival, which supported the initiative, said, adding that his organization had researched and found it to be the tallest public mural.
“We will record it with the Guinness World Records and have filled out a form for that purpose. We are confident that this will be the tallest mural,” he told Arab News.
The theme, Yousuf said, was selected among four ideas, including one on a hijab, due to its “beautiful and strong message.”
“We want to put Pakistan, and our city, Karachi, on the map for right reasons,” Thompson said, adding: “The world will see a different Pakistan, a country with immense beauty and positive image.”