Geneva, a fresco close to the UN: no to anti-personnel mines

A gigantic hand has appeared in the square that houses the United Nations headquarters in Geneva. It is the work of the Swiss-French artist SAYPE who, using chalk and charcoal, wanted to create a fresco that called attention to the condition of civilians in armed conflicts. The 34-year-old, in collaboration with the charity Handicap International, placed his hand on a canvas of grass right next to the giant wooden sculpture known as Broken Chair.

Hand repairing a broken leg

The Broken Chair is a 12 meter high chair created in 1997 by the Swiss artist Daniel Berset. The aim of the work is to raise public awareness of the impact of anti-personnel mines on civilians in conflict zones. If observed from above, SAYPE’s fresco, entitled All Of Us, complements that of Berset. “The idea was to paint a hand that would reach out and fix the broken leg,” SAYPE said. “In my mind,” continued the artist, “this hand represents the whole world and the fact that we can all get involved and help Handicap International in its fight.” Handicap International was founded in 1982 to assist Cambodian refugees who had lost limbs, and in 1992 co-founded the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), which won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Landmines are a current problem

The artist declared: “The problem of anti-personnel mines is even more current due to the war in Ukraine.” “For most of my projects, I try to use art to spread messages,” she added. “I like to say that I impact society without impacting nature.”