KARACHI: A 286-foot-tall public art mural made by Italian artist Giuseppe Percivati called Rising Blue was unveiled at Centrepoint on Saturday evening.

It is part of the Internati­onal Public Art Festival (IPAF), an initiative of ‘I Am Karachi’, whose organisers claim that the mural is the world’s tallest.

Speaking on the occasion, Italian Consul-General Anna Ruffino said the talented artist had worked in Karachi before at IPAF and also worked in several other countries such as the US, Portugal, Australia and Japan. She said the mural was a message of peace and friendship, as well as a cry of alarm for the environment. The subject was the conservation of mangroves in Pakistan, especially along the coast of Sindh, which was why it was a great gift to Karachi, she added.

She thanked the artist and the event organisers for doing valuable work for the city.

Mr Percivati said the project took about nine days to paint but months for preparation. He first came in July to find a location and as soon as he saw the TPL Tower (Centrepoint), he said: “This is perfect place.” He thanked the people behind the project, especially Ambareen Thompson and Amin Hashwani, executive director and president of ‘I Am Karachi’, for lending their support to him. “Karachi is a beautiful city but has been neglected a bit. It’s called the City of Lights but sometimes it’s more like a city of dust. People of Karachi are beautiful. The city can be as beautiful as Milan, Rome or London,” he remarked.

Terming the mural an iconic example of public-private partnership, IPAF chairman Jameel Yusuf said the 286-foot-tall mural is the world’s tallest, tracing the stunning Karachi coastline. Describing the artwork’s symbolism, he told the audience that the mangroves supported Pakistan’s ecosystem as a breeding ground for marine life and birds.

According to him, the mural is artistic and abstract in a way as it not only suggests the height but also the rising ocean levels referring to climate change. It depicts the rise of a nation, of a voice, of the awakening of a conscience of climate change. It is also symbolic of us as a nation: how we keep rising despite our setbacks.

Karachi Port Trust Chairman Rear Admiral Jamil Akhtar said he was proud to be a part of the project in supporting ‘I Am Karachi’. He gave a piece of good news that they’re working on another ‘ambitious’ project and had given a kind of a blank cheque to the organisers for the project.

Ms Thompson said her team had been working for the past four years to change city’s narrative.

Published in Dawn, January 26th, 2020