New Blu mural in Rebibbia

Street artist paints giant mural near prison.

Italian street artist Blu has painted a giant mural on Via Ciciliano in the north-east Rome suburb of Rebbibia.

The Bologna-based artist, who gained international recognition for his murals on Via del Porto Fluviale in the capital's Ostiense district, has decorated the façade of a six-storey social housing building near Rebibbia jail.

Blu's image features a monotone prison whose barred windows are destroyed by tentacle-like tree roots which surge upwards in the rainbow colours of the peace flag.

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A local residents' committee organised and financed the mural by Blu who is also known for his dare-devil working methods, preferring to dangle from rappelling ropes instead of using mechanical lifts or scaffolding.

Last summer the street artist participated in the SanBa urban regeneration project in Rome’s S. Basilio area where his mural caused a storm of controversy. Featuring a large depiction of local patron saint Basilio breaking locks, the image also included pigs dressed in police uniforms.

The mayor of Rome Ignazio Marino ordered the removal of the mural, which was dedicated to Fabrizio Ceruso, a 19-year-old shot dead in 1974 during clashes with police following the evictions of 150 families in the locality. In the end Marino backed down and the city merely white-washed the offending lower right section of the mural.

Blu’s work often deals with local political themes around the globe and he has been rated by The Guardian as among the world’s top ten street artists.