India’s Permanent Mission to UN inaugurates giant mural

NEW YORK: An imposing mural on the premises of India’s Permanent Mission to the UN depicts a multi-pronged theme of environmentally sustainable green jobs.

India’s Permanent Mission to UN inaugurates giant mural

Syed Akbaruddin. Reuters file

New York, April 10

In an “innovative outreach”, an imposing mural on the premises of India’s Permanent Mission to the UN depicts a multi-pronged theme of environmentally sustainable green jobs, Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary, the International Labour Organisation’s centenary celebration and India leading the global greening effort as documented recently by NASA.

The mural, on the sidewall of the Permanent Mission of India to the UN here, was created by French artist, originally from Portugal, Victor Ash, to commemorate the centenary celebrations of the ILO as well as Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary. The mural, an innovative collaboration with the ILO and non-profit organisation ‘Street Art for Mankind’, was inaugurated on Tuesday.

The imposing white, black, grey and green mural depicts a gigantic weightless astronaut, floating in space, a green lndia visible in the astronaut’s helmet visor. Gandhi’s portrait and the number ‘150’ are on the astronaut’s spacesuit’s left arm while a patch with the ILO logo and the numeric ‘100’ is on the right arm.    

India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin said the ILO worked with India’s Permanent Mission to promote a global concern--environmentally sustainable green jobs. He said the mural’s theme also had other elements of India--green jobs, the NASA report and Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary.

“Rare is an occasion that you can get so many themes together,” Akbaruddin said as the mural was inaugurated in the presence of ILO Director-General Guy Ryder as well as top UN diplomats.

“We hope this innovative outreach, which goes beyond diplomatic outreach, reaches out to people on the street in a form that is comprehensible to them.”

“We diplomats work on resolutions, outcomes, documents but this is our combined effort to promote green jobs in a much more sustainable manner,” he said.

Looking down on earth, the astronaut in the mural sees that the world is a greener place than it was 20 years ago. India is amongst those contributing in significant measure to this increase in the greening on earth and the same was corroborated by the recent data from the NASA satellites.

A recent NASA study had said India and China are leading the global greening effort. The NASA study, which observed that the world is a greener place than it was 20 years ago, was based on data received and analysed from its satellite. The greening in India is mostly from croplands (82 per cent) with minor contribution from forests (4.4 per cent), the NASA study, published on February 11, said.

Akbaruddin voiced appreciation for Ash for being able to “artistically depict the multiple themes in a way that all of us can comprehend”.

Ash said he was honoured to participate in the project, which gave a message that it’s important for nations to work together for a greener future.

“I painted the astronaut because astronauts are also workers; they carry all the machines and tools when they go up in space. I think the future of workers will also be space,” he told PTI.

He added that astronauts often said that when they were in space, they didn’t see borders when they looked down at earth. “There are no borders; it’s only in our minds.”

Ash, who has been doing street art and murals since the 1980s, finished the mural in one week.

“Big murals like this are a good way to give messages. Very often art is not understood by most people. I use very simple message in what I do so people can understand very easily,” he said.

The mural also depicts the ILO’s objective of transformation to a greener and low-carbon economy with the potential to create around 24 million new jobs globally by 2030, contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

“The Green India in the mural represents the importance of green jobs to sustainable development and responds to the global challenges of environmental protection, economic development and social inclusion,” the Permanent Mission of India to the UN said, adding that with the Green Jobs Initiative, the ILO and its partners sought to promote economies and enterprises with reduced environmental impact while generating meaningful employment and the regenerating natural resources.

“There is a growing acknowledgement that the strategy of ‘grow first, clean up later’ is not sustainable, economically, socially or environmentally. This has led to an awareness and willingness to act,” the Indian Mission said.

India was one of the first countries in Asia Pacific to collaborate with the ILO on the Green Jobs Initiative.

“Some may consider this counter-intuitive, given our large population. To us, it is no surprise. The leader of India’s struggle for independence, Mahatma Gandhi, whose 150th anniversary is being celebrated, always held that ‘The earth, air, land and water are not an inheritance from our forefathers but on loan from our children’,” it said. PTI

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