The mural featuring a giant green turtle is displayed at the NICH.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
The mural featuring a giant green turtle is displayed at the NICH.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

KARACHI: For several days now, people visiting or passing by the National Institute of Child Health (NICH) couldn’t help but notice something going on around a wall there. They could see children hard at work with paint brushes in hand as they added colour to a painting.

Well, it was a mural that they had all been working on completing. It is a picture of a huge green turtle, a native of Pakistan, sitting on its eggs that you see people protecting also. The turtle has happily allowed children to climb up on top of its shell to play cricket there. Meanwhile, there are gifts tied to colourful parachutes floating in the air as the warm sun shines down on everything.

The person behind the mural is the Japanese artist Kensuke Miyazaki. He has been creating such grand works of art all over the world to encourage and give hope to the children of the world for the future through art activities. The aim is also to bring the world closer. These participatory mural projects have already been carried out in Kenya, East Timor, Ukraine, Ecuador and Haiti.

And now in Karachi, the unveiling ceremony of this particular mural was carried out on Saturday to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Japan-Pakistan diplomatic relations. The mural has been created at the National Institute of Child Health (NICH) in Karachi with the support of the Pakistan Japan Cultural Association (Sindh).

According to the artist, the concept of the mural is symbolic. “It is about Karachi’s Green sea turtle. In Karachi, some beaches are famous for green sea turtles. Since they are endangered species, the government agencies here also try to protect the lives of baby turtles,” he told Dawn.

“Just like the sea turtles, we human beings also need protection and a lot of support throughout our lives, especially during our childhood,” he said.

Miyazaki created the mural in the paediatric part of the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre to wish children safety, protection, and hope. In the process of painting the mural, more than 350 children from many schools across Karachi joined him. This mural is a co-production, created by not only Miyazaki himself, but also children of Karachi.

“I am pleased to create a mural in Karachi commemorating the 70th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Japan. Since NICH, where I made this mural, is a hospital for children, I drew people who protect the green sea turtles and their eggs to represent people who protect children. I wish that the future is always bright for Pakistani children,” said Miyazaki.

Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2022

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