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‘Working on the rubble’: Artist paints on rubble in earthquake-hit Turkish city

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Artist Saype, known for his murals around the world, on Friday unveiled a piece painted on rubble in the southern Turkish city Antakya, devastated by February’s deadly earthquakes.

The Feb. 6 earthquakes in Turkey killed more than 55,000 people in Turkey and Syria and left thousands homeless and reliant on international assistance.

The black and white mural of two hands holding each other was painted on 1,000 square meters (10,700 square feet) of rubble, in a space that was once home to residential buildings, a bakery and tailor.

“It used to be a lively street,” Guillaume Legros, known as Saype, told AFP.

“When the earthquake hit, I was moved. I came here in July and I couldn’t believe it. I realized the extent of the catastrophe,” the Frenchman, whose wife was born in Turkey, said.

He decided to dedicate a project to the survivors of the earthquake on the ruins of the now unrecognizable ancient town.

“I worked directly on the rubble, on old homes, on family photos. I’d never painted on stones before,” the artist said, who is known for painting on grass.

During the 16 days Saype was working on the piece, he met locals who had lived in tents and shipping containers for eight months since the disaster.

“We met many people who used to live in the apartments upon whose rubble were painting. They came to collect objects.”

“They were shocked but thanked us for coming,” he said, adding that he wants his work to put a spotlight on the needs of survivors in Antakya.

The artist now plans to sell prints of the piece to raise money for survivors and families of victims.

© Agence France-Presse

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