Starting this September, the world’s largest air-purifying mural can be found in Constanta, Romania. Created with Airlite purifying paint, on an area of 2,000 square meters on the wall of Reyna beach in Constanta, the mural artwork “Marine Reflections – The Unseen Face of Pollution” sends a strong visual message on the issue of water pollution and its impact on marine ecosystems.
Created by Romanian artist Alex Baciu, as part of the “Act for Waters” eco-platform, developed by Act for Tomorrow Association and Kaufland Romania, with the support of the Municipality of Constanta and the Ministry of Environment, Water and Forests, the painting transforms the grey wall surrounding the beach into a work of art, unique worldwide, which has the ability to filter air like a forest of 88 mature trees. It also removes 112 kg of nitrogen oxides in a year, absorbs 95 kg of CO2 and neutralizes the equivalent of 428 Euro6 car emissions.
The painting is a manifesto against water pollution around the world, and the artist’s message to people is to look at nature through its eyes, to become its ally and keep it clean and “healthy”. Although pollution is not always visible to the human eye, it still affects nature tremendously, and this painting with a human at its center is a way of making this reality more visible and bringing it to the surface. Humans are the main generator of pollution, and our actions have devastating consequences for nature and marine life.
The main element of the painting, realized in only 30 days by the artist Alex Baciu, with the support of the visual artist Ciprian Tauciuc, is the portrait of a man, holding a pair of binoculars that reflects and brings to the surface the waste in the water, which even if not always visible, affects the marine environment. Another unique element of the painting is the calligraphy of the word Constanța, specially made by Sabina Kipara, a Romanian artist specializing in graphic design, and on the opposite side there this a huge projection screen, measuring 120 square meters, on which a wide range of movies dedicated to the people of Constanta and tourists will be projected. Through the impressive size of the mural we aim to bring into the collective consciousness the importance of protecting nature, for us and for future generations. The painting was made possible with the support of Felbermayr and Reyna.
Airlite is a special paint that converts air pollutants such as nitrogen and sulphur oxides into harmless nitrates and nitrites that are deposited on the painted surface until they are removed by rainwater or humidity in the air. This kind of paint is also very effective in preventing dirt from settling on walls. It combats dirt in two ways. Air breaks down oily substances deposited on the surface, preventing dust from sticking on the wall.
Airlite naturally has a high solar reflectance, so when applied to the exterior surfaces of buildings, it reflects the thermal component of sunlight, keeping building interiors cooler and reducing cooling energy consumption by up to 29% and therefore CO2 emissions. In combination with the paint, a thin layer of water is created (due to a property called hydrophilicity), which prevents dust and other particles from settling on the surface and causing them to flake off.
The launch of the painting was complemented by a large-scale event on 3rd of September, an artistic manifesto for the protection of nature. The day started with sports and educational activities and ended with a concert performed by Smiley, one of the most important Romanian artists involved in environmental and social responsibility actions. The concert took place from 19.30 to 21.00 and was followed by an open-air screening of the documentary “Wild Romania“, the largest photography and documentary film project dedicated to nature in Romania.
The title of the largest air-purifying mural has previously been held by a work in Rome covering the facade of a seven-storey building, “Hunting Pollution”, which measures 1,100 square metres. It features a heron, an endangered bird, at its center, as the artist wants to highlight the problems facing the environment through his work.
The mural artwork created in Constanta is a completely personalized, unique intervention, specific to the seaside location. Constanta is a culturally diverse place that is home to a multitude of cultures, of young people who appreciate art and who want such an unconventional space where they can express themselves and which inspires and stimulates their creativity. Every painting has a story, every line has a feeling and an emotion behind it, and you can feel it when you look at it.
“The mural artwork launched today in Constanța is above all a manifesto for nature, a manifesto for the future of this planet. Our aim is to use art not only as tool to send a global warning about water pollution and the impact our actions have on marine ecosystems, but, at the same time, show that art can also be a solution to the environmental problems our cities face.” stated Andrei Coșuleanu, President of Act for Tomorrow
“Romania needs environmental projects and solutions that will make our country an inspiration for the whole world. We are glad that through our strategic water protection platform, ‘Act for Waters’, we have managed to put Romania on the world map with an example of best practice and at the same time put the issue of plastic water pollution on the public agenda.” stated Anna-Katharina Scheidereiter, CSR Manager Kaufland România.
“We are delighted that the Municipality of Constanta is hosting the largest air-purifying mural artwork in the world. We have been strong supporters of this project in our city since the beginning. Promoting sustainability at the municipal level is a strategic direction of the local public administration of Constanța and together with our partners from the civil society we will continue to develop new solutions to solve the environmental problems we are currently facing.” stated Ionuț Rusu, Deputy Mayor of Constanta
“I am happy to have created this artwork and turned it into a way of expression for one of the most acute problems humanity is facing today: pollution and climate change. Painting is first and foremost a reflection of a reality we don’t see, and through this method we wanted to bring it to the surface and sound an alarm about the impact our daily actions have on the environment. I hope that the message we have transmitted through this work will awaken the conscience of as many people as possible, who will decide to take action now to mitigate the effects of climate change,” said Alex Baciu, the artist who created the painting.
The event is part of the “Act for Waters” platform, developed by the Act for Tomorrow Association and Kaufland Romania, in partnership with the City Hall of Constanta, that carries out extensive actions to protect inland and coastal waters alike. In 2020, the “Act for Waters” platform won first place in the environment category at the Romanian PR Awards, the most important PR competition in Romania.