The World’s Biggest Ecological Mural
small, The World’s Biggest
Ecological Mural, Eco Mural on Solina Dam, photo: PGE press release, mural-eco-solina-pge-3.jpg
The dam on Lake Solina in southeast Poland has been embellished with the largest ecological mural in the world. This work covers an area of 4.9 thousand square meters and was made using pressurised water.
Lake Solina in southeast Poland is the biggest artificial lake in the country, with an area of 22 square kilometres. A site for water sports and recreation, it is beautifully surrounded by sparsely populated hills. The lake was created in the 1960s, when a dam was built on the River San, which banked up the water of the river. The dam is 82 meters high and 664 meters long, which makes it one of the largest constructions of its kind in Europe. It has always been used to produce power at the adjacent hydroelectric plant.
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In July 2015, the dam on Lake Solina was embellished with a huge ecological mural showing animals and plants native to the nearby Bieszczady Mountains. The work, which features, amongst others, representations of a lynx and an eagle, was made on the dam’s main wall and covers a mind-boggling area of 4.9 thousand square meters. According to its creators, it’s the largest ecological mural in the world.
The mural on the dam on Lake Solina can be called ecological as only 50 litres of ecological water paint were required to make it. No other paints or chemicals were used to create the work in question. These 50 litres of paint were used to sketch out the mural on the wall. Afterwards, the mural itself was created using water under pressure. This was possible because the dam’s main wall is… rather dirty.
Over the years, dirt from the atmosphere has accumulated on the surface of the wall, changing its colour from a light grey to almost black. The mural was created after the wall’s original colour was revealed in certain places by removing portions of this dirt with precise streams of water under high pressure. The work that adorns the dam on Lake Solina falls into the category of ‘reverse graffiti’, which encompasses various images created by removing dirt from a surface.
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The idea to embellish the dam’s main wall came from PGE Energia Odnawialna, the energy company that owns the dam. The task of designing the mural was given to Przemek Truściński, a noted illustrator and comic-book creator. The company commissioned a work that would have an educational quality – from the mural, one can learn what species can be found in the surrounding mountain range. PGE Energia Odnawialna also wanted the adornment of the dam to be ecological. Therefore, the decision was made to create the mural chiefly using water.
The work was realized by the Warsaw firm Good Looking Studio. For more than a week, a few daredevil artists hanging from ropes attached to the dam created the 54-meter-high mural with electric pressure washers. The water for the washers came from Lake Solina but was not dumped after being used by the artists – it was returned to the lake. The electricity that powered these devices was clean, as it came from the hydroelectric plant adjacent to the dam.
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It’s clear that the mural’s creators really went out of their way to make the project as eco-friendly as possible. It was estimated that the work, which is exposed to the forces of nature, would endure for at least a year in good condition.
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Written by Marek Kępa, Summer 2015