This is English artist Ned Pamphilon typing.
I want to paint a rainbow under the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul.
The Bosphorus sea strait is unique in that it is where East meets West; Europe meets Asia; the Christian world world meets the Muslim world.
NPP* concieved the concept of Rainbow Bridge (RB) between the years 1997-99. There are 7 steel panels spanning the underneath of the Bosphorus Bridge and 7 peaceful rainbow colours are a practical and obvious solution if one were to paint the underside of the bridge. The more the idea was researched more obvious the 7 rainbow colours became.
The message of RB is simple: peace, tolerance and dialogue are good for business and there are major themes of peace to be promoted from Turkey:
- 7 peaceful colours of the rainbow which appeared in the skies above Mount Ararat in present day Eastern Turkey, along with the dove and olive branch - all representing universal symbols of peace;
- the Mevlevi Whirling Dervish movement founded in Konya giving Turkey a tailor-made peace slogan for her tourism industry: Come, come who ever you are, however you are, just come;
- Mustafa Kemal Atatürk founded the secular democratic Republic of Turkey 1923 consisting of 7 internal regions and touched by 7 bordering countries: Greece, Bulgaria, Armenia, Georgia, Iran, Iraq and Syria. He left us all with a standard bearer quote applicable for all peace minded nations throughout the world: PEACE AT HOME, PEACE IN THE WORLD.
RB is also an extension of Atatürk's beliefs that his secular democratic state is founded on today, a country that is 97% Muslim which allows and accepts that individuals are entitled to freedom of belief.
Atatürk said: "Our religion is the most reasonable and natural of all, and that is the reason why it is the most recently established religion. For a religion to be natural it must conform to reason, science, technology and logic. Our religion fully conforms to all of these."
Let's show that to the world.
My own country's greatest Prime Minister, Englishman Winston Churchill said: "Atatürk's death is not only a loss for the country, but for Europe is the greatest loss, he who saved Turkey in the war and who revived a new Turkish nation after the war. The sincere tears shed after him by all classes of people is nothing other than an appropriate manifestation to this great hero and modern Turkey's Ata."
This bridge would show that Atatürk's legacy lives on.
NPP secured the support of possibly the biggest chemical company in the world, Germany's BASF for nearly 2 years.
Even though the project has garnered a lot of media coverage since 2003**, mediation with government officials resulted in a letter of rejection from The 17th Regional Highway Authority manager, Mr. Yakup Dost in September 2004. Mr. Dost has apparently told third parties: "that Englishman will never put a single stroke of colour on our bridge."
NPP continue to believe RB is a very simple and good idea. Comparison can be made between RB and projects such as the Eiffel Tower and the London Eye. The Eiffel Tower experienced considerable resistance before becoming a much loved and internationally recognised icon. The London Eye also encountered resistance, but today is a popular London land mark.
It is going to benefit which ever Turkish government happens to be in power at the time. RB will open the imaginations of millions of children. It will make a heap of money for Turkey. The authorities reportedly spent $40,000,000 on an advertising campaign at the end of 2005. BASF offered to sponsor the RB project and submitted a detailed budgeted protocol costing 350,000 Euro. RB will reap dividends because every news agency in the world will cover it; art magazines will feature it; architectural magazines; it may be entered to the Guinness Book of Records as the longest artwork between two continents; perhaps even entered for The Turner Prize... The opportunities are endless. Above all it will be fun. The bridge is periodically painted anti-corrosive grey. It is merely suggested we change the pigment. Is this proposal so radical?! If the rainbow colours are so strongly disliked, the bridge can be painted grey again.
The Turkish government have won the bid for Istanbul to be the EU Cultural Capital in 2010. RB is a perfect tool for such a venture. RB will aid Turkey's EU aspirations and generate a more constructive image toward the sceptical French, German and Scandinavian public.
If you love Istanbul, you can help!
RB has become its own little private drop in the ocean to help change the world for the better; a stance against the conservative status quo which so often declares it cares about peace in the world but appears to do little about it. If any substantial company would like to sponsor and support RB, enquiries are welcome.
Please contact me at NPP: Ned Pamphilon Productions 00 90 535 492 0792, or alternatively visit my blog istanbul7.
If you wish to personally support the project we can only suggest you write to Mr. Ahmet Necet Sezer, The President of the Republic of Turkey, Cankaya Kosku, Ankara 06100, Turkiye and ask his office to pass on the supportive messages to the necessary authorities.
All photos are the property of Ned Pamphilon.
* NPP (Ned Pamphilon Productions) is the production of artworks, ideas and activities of English artist Ned Pamphilon. Ned has painted with Turkish entrepreneur Rahmi Koc and children in Bodrum promoting cleaner seas for Turkey. Ned's portrait of Atatürk's eyes has been used all across Istanbul.
** Ned Pamphilon appeared on the popular Turkish TV show Zaga in 2003 and various newspapers and magazines from 2005.