ASTANA – Argentinean artist Marina Zumi has created an amazing artwork on the walls of Kasteev’s School of Fine Arts and Technical Design in Almaty with the support of Tikkurila, the Finnish manufacturer of paints and lacquers. The building is decorated with the first and biggest mural in Central Asia. Named “Bright Childhood,” the artwork covers an area of more than 900 square metres.
“I am overwhelmed by the reception of my work in Kazakhstan. I never expected that this would get so big. I am surprised,” said Zumi in a recent interview with The Astana Times.
The artist was contacted by Tikkurila about the project and location via social media. The company indicated there was a possibility of creating a large project and asked if she was interested.
“We started negotiations in April. It took a while to decide which school would participate in the project and organisers had to agree with the city administration. Finally, Kasteev’s School of Art was chosen. The director is such an open person, she supported the whole idea, so I came to Kazakhstan in the beginning of July,” said Zumi.
She and the organisers had the idea of painting a little genius, a figure who would inspire young children. After considering Albert Einstein, they decided they wanted someone from the arts and instead chose Salvador Dali.
“I am a huge fan of his. My work portrays Salvador Dali playing in the forest, blowing the seeds of a dandelion. So the seeds make a lot of sacred geometry in the form of spheres and they pass all the colour gradients, the rainbow. All three walls of the art school form a whole art work. You can imagine a canoe with Salvador on the one side. The seeds of the dandelion bring the pieces of the magical world of childhood to the world. We wanted to say that every child has a talent and the adults have to help them reveal their abilities,” said the artist.
Zumi started her work July 6, taking nearly 14 days, 530 litres and 300 spray cans to finish the whole wall. She said the team slept only three-four hours per day. The main problem for them was the weather, as it was extremely hot in Almaty during those weeks.
The artist had three local assistants, Dima Sdvig, Alisher Dammit and Darion Shabbash, whom she characterised as amazing graffiti artists and personally chose based on their portfolios. Zumi expressed deep gratitude to them.
The Argentinean artist said she was amazed by Kazakhstan. In her opinion, in some aspects Kazakh and Latin people are alike in their way of life. She was surprised by the diversity of ethnic groups living in the country.
One of the Zumi’s famous projects is a massive 800-square metre mural in Halle, Germany, named “Honeycomb of Life.” It took the artist 12 days to complete the rainbow work, which features mini landscapes and is layered with bees.
Zumi, who studied fashion design at Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina, is also the founder of the A7MA Gallery in Sao Paulo. She is currently an independent artist, working without an agent as she travels around the world. Her projects are known in many countries and she is recognised for using different vivid colours, sacred geometry and bioluminescent effects. Zumi prefers to incorporate bright colours in her works, which she says shows the behaviour of the person through her images. A resident of Brazil, she plans to return to Almaty in October for an exhibition and master class for children from different countries.
Street art is becoming more and more popular in cities around the world. Initially, street art was perceived by society as an act of pure vandalism, similar to the way graffiti was associated with communication between street gangs. Graffiti, however, is viewed as a separate form of art and street art has become a tool of communication between artists and society.