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Foto: Maarten Zeehandelaar

Do you remember the story I told you a while ago about a big whale banging its tailfin on soil? It had in it all these marvellous sounding names of peoples that people this earth. I just came across a bunch of those once again. Apparently, a famous spray-painter from Rio, having landed a big job for the Olympics, came up with kind of the same thing. In an impressively immense mural (a grown man walking past this face will not reach its chin!) he depicts some tremendous representatives of the five continents on this earth: the Huli from New Guinea representing Oceania, the Chukchi from Siberia representing Europe, the Tapajos from Brazil representing The Americas, the Kayin from Thailand representing Asia and last but not least, the Mursi from Ethiopia representing Africa.

I must admit that, upon first sight, I thought we were served a self-portrait of a rather stoned freedom fighter looking for his roots (Roots bloody roots, more Brazilian fame). But now I realise I mistook a solemn and serious Mursi look for a stoned one. I wondered why this woman (another misconception on my part…) should look so serious, but found out that she and her four companions on the wall convey a very serious message.

In our humanity it’s our diversity that binds us. Sadly enough many believe, once again, that our diversity should keep us apart. To the people who want to build walls, close borders, let boat refugees drown, shoot border-crossers dead in the head, et cetera, this face says: ‘Walk over to your mirror and look into it, then look at this picture again, mirror, picture, mirror, picture and try to figure out whether or not we are really different. Try to get your mind around the fact that we are not!’ Diversity is a great fear-fighter if there ever was one. You just have to take some time to look, and see. Thank you, Kobra.


Texto por: Peter-Jan Vermeij


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Copyright © 2010-2017 Maarten Zeehandelaar.