My Day at COP26: ‘I’m painting murals so people don’t forget COP happened here’

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Image source, Bianka Csenki/@8iank4

Daniel Rupaszov, 25, from Hungary, belongs to a group of artists and activists who visit COP every year to create art which highlights the climate crisis. In the latest in a series of first-person accounts from the Glasgow summit, Daniel talks about the murals he is painting around the city.

Our collective, the Artivist Network, has been coming to COP for years now – wherever it is held. We'll set up a space, provide free materials and help activists make banners, carnival puppets and other artwork ready for demonstrations. Our catchphrase is "Create, Connect, Disrupt".

Every year we also find a space to paint a mural during COP, to leave something permanent and thought-provoking behind after the negotiations – so people don't forget that this happened in their city.

BIANCA CSENKII’m going to create three murals – today I’m painting in Partick, less than two miles from where COP negotiations are taking placeDaniel Rupaszov
Artist and activist

Our first iconic project was at COP nearly six years ago, when the Paris Accords were agreed. Two years ago, in Madrid, we painted a 45m-long (148ft) mural on a university building – that was really exciting because the students there were really radical. Before that we painted a mural in Bonn, and one in Katowice the year before that.

I've been in Glasgow for about two weeks now and I've been looking for a space to paint a mural here. We had quite a few offers, and so I'm going to paint three murals over the next few days with support from Friends of the Earth Scotland.

Today I'm on Hayburn Street in Partick, less than two miles from where the COP negotiations are taking place, painting at a location that I chose because it's next to a zero-waste shop.

Image source, Bianca Csenki

My Day at COP26:

  • 'I was nervous. Breathe I said. I looked up to see Biden'
  • 'My island home is threatened – we have no hill to run to'
  • ‘My dog doesn't care if Biden is here’
  • 'It's my job to keep the summit fed – sustainably'
  • 'My Madagascans left, now I've got Pacific islanders'
  • 'Existing on carbon-counted sandwiches and Irn-Bru'

This location is really in harmony with the theme I am painting about – recycling. Recycling is something that makes people in Western societies feel more comfortable about their consumption. But loads of our plastic waste ends up being dumped in landfills in Asia – leaving them to deal with the problem.

This mural is a mixed-media piece and I'm creating it using acrylic wall paint, spray paint and a large poster. It's about 5 metres square (54 sq ft) – not monumental, but still eye-catching.

I don't like to rush when I'm doing these paintings. People want to come and chat and if they get to meet the artists and talk to them, and understand why this painting is being made and what the concept is, they'll feel the mural belongs to them much more. That is really important to me.

Where I live, in Hungary, I don't feel the government is taking the climate crisis seriously at all – they're really going in the wrong direction. Scotland is very progressive with their aims leading up to 2050, they seem like a country which is heading in the right direction – but you can never do enough.

I was raised on the outskirts of Budapest in a Scottish family – my mother is Scottish and I was born in Glasgow. Half of my family lives here, so I came to Scotland very often as a child, and still do.

As told to Sarah McDermott

The COP26 global climate summit in Glasgow is seen as crucial if climate change is to be brought under control. Almost 200 countries are being asked for their plans to cut emissions, and it could lead to major changes to our everyday lives.

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  • Will the UK meet its climate targets?

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