New street art by Blu in Rome

Italian street artist paints giant apocalyptic mural in Rome.

The latest Rome mural by Italian street artist Blu, who keeps his real identity under wraps, has appeared in the Casal dè Pazzi district 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 windowless gable of a seven-storey social housing building with an apocalyptic vision.

Blu’s colourful spiral image depicts evolution, beginning at the base with amoebas, continuing upwards through pre-historic fish, reptiles, dinosaurs, birds, elephants, apes and finally Homo Sapiens, tracing mankind's journey from agriculture to heavy industry, war and overdevelopment. It is at this point that the mural reaches a shuddering end, when the modern world breaks into pieces and comes tumbling down.

blu mural 2

The mural, which was organised by a local residents' committee calling itself Mammut, is the second such work undertaken by Blu in the Rebibbia neighbourhood in recent months.

The new mural was painted using the artist's trademark dare-devil working methods, dangling 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 mural was dedicated to a 19-year-old shot dead in 1974 during clashes with police following the evictions of 150 families in the locality.

The then mayor of Rome, Ignazio Marino, ordered the removal of the mural, which caused concern because of the images of pigs in police uniforms but he backed down and the city merely white-washed the offending images of pigs in the 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.

For an insight into street art in Rome see related article.