Artist Saype Extends the World’s Largest Human Chain to Rio de Janeiro, 2022

For the fifteenth stage of the global artwork “Beyond Walls” in Rio de Janeiro, Saype strives to bridge the impassable distance between Benin (the tenth stage of the project) and Brazil. Thus allowing those who left across the ocean never to return, to feel again the desperate embrace of those who saw them drift away forever… from African origin to American destination, from light to night, from freedom to slavery…

Beyond walls erected by people between people, Saype went to meet the local communities in the Estacìo favela.

Between the postcard image of Copacabana, which bears the tragic marks of history, and the favela, the gigantic hands of “Beyond Walls” strive to overcome the fractures of the past and those still very present. They remind us that it is only through cooperation that walls fall down and the universe becomes a reality: “the universal is the local minus the walls” (Miguel Torga).

The Beyond walls project is a giant eco-responsible landart painting by Saype using natural pigments made from charcoal and chalk. This global project aims to link more than 30 cities worldwide to promote the message of togetherness. 

The symbolic human chain was launched in the city of love, Paris and then travelled to Engolasters in AndorraSaype then stepped into Geneva, Switzerland. Step 4 took the human chain to Berlin, step 5 to Ouagadougou, step 6 to Yamoussoukro and Step 7 to Turin. Step 8 sees Saype link Europe to Asia via Istanbul. Step 9 crosses three neighbourhoods in Cape Town. After a year disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Saype creates step 10 in Benin. His 11th step in Dubai, Venice , Belfast and now Rio de Janeiro.

Photo credit: Valentin Flauraud for Saype