- World's largest mural made from recycled materials is 720 square meters
- Built by a team of six artists in upscale neighborhood in Damascus, Syria
- Made from broken mirrors, car parts, ceramic and other pieces of scrap
With no end in sight for the Syrian civil war, it's mostly grim pictures that come out from the country.
Yet a group of artists in the capital, Damascus, have created a colorful, vibrant piece of work that is seen as a symbol of hope in the war-ravaged nation -- and setting a Guinness world record as well.
In January, Moaffak Makhoul and his team of six artists completed a mural made of assorted scrap -- broken mirrors, ceramics pieces, soft-drink cans, pipes, cooking utensils, bicycle wheels and car parts.
Guinness World Records announced on their Facebook page in late March that the multicolor artwork, measuring 720 square meters (7,750 square feet), is the world's largest mural made of recycled materials.
"In the difficult conditions that the country is going through," lead artist Makhoul told Reuters. "We wanted to give a smile to the people, joy to the children, and show people that the Syrian people love life, love beauty, love creativity."
They started working on the mural in October 2013. The artists scoured the materials themselves, but they got some help too. Local housewives donated bits and pieces of things that they would otherwise throw away. Many people came from war zones to give their house keys or other personal objects to the artists.
The mural wall runs along a key motorway through the center of Damascus, in the upscale neighborhood of Al Mazzeh. The work was completed two months before the third anniversary of the Syrian conflict.
The vibrant outdoor artwork has brought people out onto the street, giving them a chance to enjoy art, bringing more sense of normalcy to their life -- and perhaps even easing some pressures.
"All sorts of people have come to see it," Rajaa Wabi, one of the artists, told Agence France-Presse. "The mural has reunited (Syrians)."
The Syrian war, which began in March 2011, has killed more than 150,000 people. Millions have been forced to flee their homes, to other parts of the country or abroad. The violence has also taken toll on the country's infrastructure, economy and urban life.
"The mural gives us hope again," said Souheil Amayri, a professor who helped the project, as quoted by AFP. "Creating something beautiful from rubbish means that we can rebuild despite the destruction."