Thursday, 27 June 2024 19:22

‘Fragility of peace’ depicted in giant new mural on UN tower in Vienna

© UNIS Vienna
The United Nations in Vienna and Calle Libre join forces to create a mural at the Vienna International Centre.

In a landmark art project for the Austrian capital Vienna, the UN building there has become a giant canvas representing the challenges of forging peace in a world that is still all too prone to conflict.

The artwork by Australian artist Fintan Magee is in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and September’s pivotal Summit of the Future.

“This work examines the human elements in the role of the UN and the fragility of peace. Lasting stability should never be taken for granted and will always require continued diplomacy and human intervention,” Mr. Magee said.

“Peace is always hard work,” he emphasised.

The mural is being officially inaugurated on Friday where the Sydney-based street artist will talk about the process of creation, the motif, its connection to the city of Vienna and its importance for the district and its residents.

Largest mural

Fintan Magee arrived in Austria on 10 June to begin the biggest mural in Viennese history. The renowned street artist is known worldwide for his large-scale paintings, which often address social issues.

This project in particular has taken approximately three weeks and covers a tower of almost 1,000 square metres in size.

Mr. Magee hopes it will serve as a reminder that “peace is fragile, and humans are imperfect.”

Renowned street artist Fintan Magee of Australia hard at work creating the mural at the Vienna International Centre.
© UNIS Vienna
Renowned street artist Fintan Magee of Australia hard at work creating the mural at the Vienna International Centre.

The art of awareness

The project is made possible in collaboration with the Calle Libre Art Festival, the largest art festival in Central Europe.

The formerly grey wall of the Vienna International Centre which houses the UN is now a work of colourful street art that will raise awareness for the pursuit of a sustainably peaceful future and the importance of art in public spaces.

“In today’s world, characterised by ongoing conflicts, refugees and migration, it is more important than ever to raise awareness of the need for a sustainable and peaceful future,” The Director of the Calle Libre Street Art Festival and Artistic Director of the project, Jakob Kattner, said.

Especially in Vienna, as an international centre for art and culture, the effect of this work will be particularly noticeable and an important source of inspiration. The tower will be easily seen by thousands every day, and around 1.6 million every month.

“The implementation of this project will not only make an artistic contribution but also a socially relevant one,” Mr. Kattner added.

Street artist Fintan Magee high atop a cherry picker creating the mural at the Vienna International Centre.
© UNIS Vienna
Street artist Fintan Magee high atop a cherry picker creating the mural at the Vienna International Centre.

SDGs and Summit of the Future

The mural is a symbol for the fulfilment of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular Goal 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions.

It also promotes the Summit of the Future this September which aims to reinvigorate the multilateral system so that the world can deliver on the promise of the UN Charter and the SDGs.

“As we mark the 45th anniversary of the Vienna International Centre this year, we must seize this opportunity to re-invest in multilateralism and build momentum for the UN’s Summit of the Future taking place in September in New York,” said Director-General of the UN Office at Vienna, Ghada Waly.

“We hope this artwork will be a source of inspiration for promoting sustainability, understanding and peace around the world,” she added.