The World's Children Create Art in Beijing

Robert Wyland, the official artist for the U.S. Olympics team, determined, thirty years ago, to paint 100 “whaling walls” that would depict the world’s oceans and celebrate the diversity of life contained therein. He saved his 100th one for Beijing, whose unveiling coincided with the 2008 Olympic Games. Placed in the Beijing International Sculpture Park, the Great Green Wall of China spans almost two miles. What is particularly wonderful is the fact that it’s the work not only of the artist himself but of a multitude of children from around the world.

Appearing as principal speaker at the Tunza International Children’s Conference on the Environment, he invited the children of the world to join him at this, the first Green Olympics, to paint the world’s waters—an initiative he called “Hands Across the Ocean.” “Water connects people all across the world—and every drop of water counts,” says Wyland. Each panel of the mural is devoted to one of the 205 countries sending athletes to Beijing. Of his collaborators, Wyland says, “Only Picasso could paint like these kids; they are better artists than I am.”

See a beautiful film of the children at work alongside Wyland here:

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