Athletes aren’t the only ones breaking records at this year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Street artist Eduardo Kobra is gunning for a world record by creating what could be the largest mural conceived by a single person.
Kobra transformed a 190-meter-long wall in the city’s Boulevard Olímpico into a vibrant and massive mural that spans an area of nearly 3,000 square meters. The giant artwork bests the current Guinness World Record holder ― Ernesto Espiridion Rios Rocha, whose street art opus in Mexico measured in at 1,678 square meters in 2009 ― by a hefty margin.
The majestic artwork is Kobra’s take on the five Olympic rings, depicting five faces from the world’s five continents represented in the games. Each face, enlarged to extreme proportions, is rendered in Kobra’s signature style, in which bright, geometric patchwork is mapped atop realistic facial features.
Called “Ethnicities,” the piece highlights the importance of diversity and the beauty of coming together as world citizens, both unique and united. “We’re living through a very confusing time with a lot of conflict,” Kobra explained in an interview featured on Rio 2016. “I wanted to show that everyone is united, we are all connected.”
The whopping undertaking required 100 gallons of white paint, 1,500 liters of colored paint and more than 3,500 cans of spray paint to transform the run-down wall into a colorful quilt of paint. Kobra collaborated with four artists for two months, working 12 hours a day to complete the project.
It seems likely that Kobra’s enlisting of assistants could disqualify him from winning the Guinness World Record, which specifies that artists must work alone. (The record for largest outdoor mural by more than one artist is currently 16,554 square meters.) However, as any art lover knows, the power of art cannot be quantified with records, prizes or gold medals.
At least not since someone took home the Olympic gold for painting in 1912.
Thank you, Kobra, for making this year’s Olympic Games a little bit brighter. Hopefully the imagery will outlast the summer season, as will its powerful message. As the artist said: “We’ve all got the same origins so we have to get along, not only during the Olympic Games but always. We should always stand for world peace.”
See more of the street art Rio has to offer here.
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