It’s not the most obvious of superlatives, but Dubai now reckons it’s home to the world’s largest jigsaw. Or is it?
Red Bull Curates: Jigsaw is definitely very big. But it’s not the kind of puzzle you need to piece together, not with your hands anyway.
The giant artwork made from upcycled shipping containers was unveiled this week at the 117 Live Autism Rocks Arena near Dubai Outlet Mall.
Australian artist Guido van Helten used 63 shipping containers measuring 135 metres long and 12 metres high to create the massive installation.
More than 500 litres of paint were applied to the unlikely canvas across 288 hours over 18 days. The finished creation weighs a mighty 207 tonnes and had to be lifted into place by two 100 tonne cranes.
You’ll need to step back to appreciate the completed installation, which is a giant pair of monochrome eyes.
Guido scoured the city looking for a subject of Red Bull’s annual modular art exhibition, but inspiration came when he spotted a camel herder working nearby the site, which blew away his assumptions about Dubai.
“I’ve always seen Dubai as this global place,” explains the artist. “For me, it’s always been a stopover from Australia to Europe. I’ve never witnessed what it’s like to be here. I’ve had preconceptions about the place that have been thrown out the window. Of course, there is a world of money and business but behind that there are everyday people who are working everyday jobs. I did not realize how much of a diverse place it is. I didn’t realize how many different cultures there are in the city.”
It might be contending as the biggest jigsaw in the world, but it’s certainly not the street artist’s largest work. Guido recently painted a mural of six children on the side of giant grain silos in his home country of Australia.