The Longest Painting: Transcending Inspiration

By Daniel S.,

We are living in a world inundated with so many challenges. From the economy and financial meltdowns to nuclear armament; from regional wars to immigration, the global problems have proliferated and they have become very difficult to solve. The actions individual nations take affects the world in general and this automatically makes the problems and challenges of nations interdependent. And one of the pervasive challenges of the world today is the issue of environment. Indeed climate change is the first issue that is truly global that no one can get away from as everybody is at risk. It is repeatedly said that global warming may be the first challenge in history that human societies across the globe should act upon together as it is a shared threat. All these challenges necessitate the need for a coordinated global effort and political will for their effective solution. And as the nature and the most important characteristic of most of these problems is that they put the future in danger, it automatically entails the need for awareness from everybody; and especially the youth.

That’s why the longest painting in the world which was accomplished by Eritrean youth organized under the NUEYS, was given the theme “Pollution Free world”. Although the project was carried out having as the final objective of putting it in the Guinness World Record book, its representational effect has far more implication in terms of its theme and participants and also its associated significance. In this respect, the longest painting has tried to address the issue of one of the most important challenges of the world, which is environmental pollution. Moreover, the fact that the task was done by the youth has symbolically represents the solution for such a global challenge lies on the awareness we should create on the youth, who are the future of the world.

The power possessed by youth is a recognized force at all time. Its significance is that their energy can be used for both constructive and destructive purposes. This is what makes the youth at the centre of any equation. And if their potential is tapped adequately and is brought together, our massive youth power can work wonders in any endeavour we take on. And what makes youth associations all over the world important in any task is their representation of the active force of the youth. As medium where many talents of the youth come together youth associations are often areas where promising futures are conceived. And it is the painting clubs under NUEYS that has taken up on the task of accomplishing the longest painting in the world which was successfully completed.

This painting with the theme “pollution free world”, live up to Eritrea’s belief and commitment to deal with the global challenge of Environment through the involvement of a consciously aware, organized and dedicated youth. Eritrea has a vested interest in protecting the environment. And this has historical reasons. Due to colonialism Eritrea had not been the owner of its own affairs. And the direct result of this take its toll in the socio-economic, political, cultural, and environmental aspects of the country. So at independence Eritrea had to start from the scratch. And now that it has taken its matter on its hand, the long road for reconstruction of the country has begun. And this was with the rich experience of the successful struggle for independence that assured that nothing is impossible if there is a conscious and organized youth ready to make the sacrifice for the objectives in the best interest of the society. Many progresses have therefore been achieved in various fields like education health, infrastructure, and other social sectors. One of the major priorities of Eritrea is the environment as it is directly linked with the core principles and values of the country and the government. The major endeavour of the nation, which includes social justice, self-reliance, and food security, has a lot to do with the environment. The majority of the Eritrean people live in rural areas engaged on agriculture, which is affected by the environment for better or worse. Hence, much has been invested to protect the environment through soil and water conservation efforts, terracing, constructing dams and check dams, planting of trees, environmental awareness efforts and so on.

What made the longest painting unique is its symbolical and representational nature. Just as the project represents the message of raising awareness by involving the youth (the most important players) to the worlds most urgent and important problem (environmental pollution); it also symbolizes the need for unity both in Eritrea and the world by involving children from the 6 regions of Eritrea and from both genders. The theme of the painting was divided into seven continuous and interrelated phases that gives complete pictures about the trends and processes affecting our environment and the effort needed to create the ideal environment free from pollution. Each phase was represented in around one kilo meter of painting.

All along the process of painting the works of the children were constantly inspected and followed by the five witnesses. As the task, it was known, would take a long time, it would be difficult for personnel of Guinness to follow the work from the beginning to the end. And hence, as per the requirement of the Guinness World Record, a valid work should have the account of at least two witnesses of whom one should be a professional in the area or field of the task that is being attempted. These witnesses should be influential persons in various fields and in no way should be affiliated with the body or institution attempting the task, in this case the NUEYS.

On Saturday, 26th of November 2011 the painting was staged at the outskirt of the capital on the road from Asha Golgol through Hmbrti. In the ceremony where different government officials, religious leaders, diplomats and invited guest were present the measurement was conducted. The task of the measurement was carefully done for about 5 hours by experts. And the measurement was confirmed by the witnesses to be 7.166 km long, the longest painting in the world. It put Eritrea in the nomination for Guinness World Record book.

The event is indeed significant at different levels. The task of the Longest Painting is a manifestation of the growth and organization of the arts club and it proved that it has put the skill, dedication and perspective of the youth to a whole new level and beyond. It created a conducive atmosphere where the painters mainly the youth and children would be able to exercise and express their artistic talents for a noble objective. The project also stands as a testimony to NUEYS’s living up to its responsibility and expectation in the task of developing the youth and organizing them towards the issue of utmost urgency and importance. There is no doubt that the painting has a left a deep impression on the participants that anything is possible; even fighting pollution. Materializing such a long painting with such a big effort on their part is certainly a source of inspiration, instilling in their receptive mind that nothing is impossible and out of reach if you come together, define your problem, put your mind to it, and work hard. Isn’t that what the world needs for its challenge one of which is saving our environment? Such a lesson and message in the heart of our future generation is indeed the strong point made by the project. Moreover it has proved that guided activism bears fruits and enables inspiration to transcend across the world.

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