eduardo kobra's massive olympic mural

Brazilian Mural Artist Creates World’s Biggest Mural by One Person

While the Rio Olympic games came with a large amount of controversy, both during the events themselves and in the planning stages, one thing is certain: it gave a much-needed boost to the vibrant public art culture in the country. Brazil has long had a proud and beautiful public art culture, from the beautiful murals throughout Sao Paulo to the many paintings that have since emerged in Rio during and before the Olympics.

But one mural in particular has stood out amongst the others and for one very good reason: it’s literally the largest. The mural, created entirely by Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra, spans over 3,000 square meters of wall space on the “Olympic Boulevard,” a three-mile strip that celebrates the many great things for which the Olympics stand for, such as inclusivity, healthy competition, and the many cultures and ethnicities that make the Olympics such an important event.

The mural itself is called “etnias” (“ethnicities” in Portuguese) and represents the many different kinds of people who make up the Oympic athletes. Based on the five Olympic rings, the mural illustrates five different faces from five different continents. The piece is also drawing from a distinctly Brazilian flavour of mural, with bright colours that are typical of street art and murals found throughout the country.

Overall, the painting took Kobra hundreds of hours to complete. It also required a number of supplies, including 100 gallons of white paint, 1,500 litres of coloured paint, and at least 3,500 cans of spray paint. Kobra worked for over 12 hours a day for weeks to ensure the piece was completed in time for the Olympic Games.

Kobra said he was ecstatic about the piece and the end result. “I was really happy I got to display my work here in Rio de Janeiro,” Kobra said in an interview with the Rio’s official website. “This was something I have wanted to do for a long time. We’re living through a very confusing time with a lot of conflict. I wanted to show that everyone is united, we are all connected.”

Besides being a celebration of the Olympic spirit and the inclusivity that the Games try to represent, the piece also celebrates the wonderful diversity found within Brazil’s own public art scene. Brazil has long encouraged street art throughout its cities and the country holds many different records for murals, public art, and other street art-related achievements. Kobra is also one of hundreds of artists who have become internationally famous for their street art, and his piece adds to the large catalogue of art that continues to influence people around the world. While the Rio games weren’t without incident, it is pieces like Kobra’s that celebrate the Olympic spirit and can come to symbolize what the Games can represent.