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UN75: Switzerland gifts Saype artwork to Palais des Nations

World of Progress, by Saype

Two children drawing their ideal world together - a tree, a sun, a house, a string of people holding hands, and animals - universal symbols recalling our common duty towards future generations: this is the subject of the brand new ephemeral monumental fresco by artist Saype that was inaugurated today in the park of the Palais des Nations.

“World of progress”, a gift from Switzerland for the 75th anniversary of the Charter of the United Nations, signed on June 26, 1945, is a poetic, ecological and ephemeral work of 6000 square meters showing us that building the world of tomorrow is a collective goal. It also recalls the theme of UN75, "The future we want".

Switzerland’s Federal Councilor Ignazio Cassis presented the gift to the UN at a ceremony in Ariana Park, with the artist present.

He said the Charter of the United Nations had defined the main principles of international relations and that, 75 years after its adoption, the United Nations could be proud of several successes, including the process of decolonization that took place, its humanitarian action worldwide, the development of a system of human rights, its many peace missions and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

"Despite what it may seem, the world has never been less violent, education has improved, and hunger has declined. These achievements were possible thanks to decisions taken by all Member States," said Mr. Cassis.

The head of the Department of Foreign Affairs added that Switzerland supports ongoing UN reforms. "In a changing world, institutions must also evolve in order not to fade away. The Secretary-General's reforms are necessary to meet the challenges of our time."

Tatiana Valovaya, Director-General of the UN Office in Geneva, received the gift on behalf of the UN and thanked Switzerland, calling the host country a valued partner of the United Nations and of multilateralism.

"What could be more ecological and topical than an ephemeral work of art when we promote urgent climate action to save our planet? Thank you Saype for respecting the environment, while using nature as a canvas for your beautiful works, " said Ms. Valovaya at the inauguration.

For the artist, there is no doubt that nature is central to our future: "Ecology must be at the center of how we think about our connection to the world and to nature". He adds points out that the idea of collaboration is very much part of his most recent work, because "it is together that we must reflect on the world of tomorrow,” he says.

The artwork "World in progress" should be visible from the sky over several weeks, until the rain and the regrowth of the grass make it go away forever.

An influential artist
Guillaume Legros, alias Saype (contraction of Say Peace), is known worldwide for his monumental frescoes on grass and on the ground. He creates them using biodegradable paints he invented using chalk and charcoal.

In an interview with UNTV, Saype said he enjoys tackling issues in a positive and optimistic way, and that children are a recurring theme in his work.

"I like to deal with subjects through children. They hold the world of tomorrow in their hands. And when we talk about children, we also talk about us. What are we going to leave them as a world? What values do we want to leave them?" says Saype.

His monumental works seen from the sky have appeared in Paris, Buenos Aires, Ouagadougou, Berlin and Andorra. As a resident of Bulle, his works have also appeared in several Swiss places.

In 2019, Forbes magazine named Saype one of the 30 most influential people under the age of 30 in art and culture.

His poetic and ephemeral works travel the world to "impact mentalities, without impacting nature," as Saype puts it himself.