A French-Swiss artist is making headlines with his project to paint the largest human chain in the world. After beginning a massive art display in Paris last year, Guillaume Legros, or “Saype,” has left his mark in Andorra, Berlin, Geneva, Istanbul, and beyond.
His murals feature gargantuan clasping human hands across massive expanses of lawn, and are painted using a durable, environmentally friendly paint created by the artist himself. It took Saype a year to develop this paint, Good News Network reported.
The 31-year-old artist said his work is designed to bring people together in a time when the world has become far too polarized.
“In the conjuncture we are in, people started to become more polarized and more alienated,” he said. “I wish my work will have a significant impact. I aim to support people’s efforts to come together and do something together.”
The artist, originally from Belfort, France, and currently living in Switzerland, told The Epoch Times that his work is based on the ideas of “benevolence” and “mutual aid,” principles that he says are the gateway to uncovering solutions for a better future.
“We are in a hyper-connected world,” he said. “It seems to me that if we are to find reasonable solutions, we have to find them together and show solidarity.”
His paintings, which span five continents, are also designed to convey a sense of universality.
“To talk about universality, and togetherness, it seems to me that’s important. Everyone must be considered,” he explained.
In order to obtain permission to leave such a large striking mark on the world, Saype says he leveraged his network and his notoriety; but mostly, he was just lucky.
“When I want to go to a place, I manage to find the contact of the person who will give me the chance to be able to paint where I want,” he said.
Once he has a place in mind, Saype uses Google Earth to help him plan the huge-scale project and “get an overview of the place where I am going to paint,” he explained.
“Although it’s not entirely reliable, I have an idea,” he adds. “Then, I will put some marks on the ground to give me a scale of the site. Then I have a croquis in my hand, and that’s the artist’s job.”
Saype says that while his work is designed to help people throughout the world feel less alienated from one another, he isn’t sure the world is truly more or less polarized than it used to be.
But he is sure that bringing people together is never a bad thing.
“To me, it’s the idea that the gap is growing between people,” he said. “We point to ethnic groups, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.”
Although Saype’s environmentally friendly paint does melt away after roughly one month, he hopes his work will leave a lasting message of “optimism” and “caring” while it lasts. It will also be memorialized in aerial photography and published on his Instagram page for posterity.
“It seems to me,” he said, “that when the inequalities are too great, the system is no longer sustainable.”
This story was last updated in January 2021.