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A talk with Iena Cruz, author of the smog-eating mural “Hunting Pollution”

The work, the largest of its kind in Europe, uses Airlite paints to transform smog into inert salts

Last Friday, Rome inaugurated the largest mural ever painted with Airlite paints, an innovation 100% made in Italy. The work, titled ‘Hunting Pollution’, covers a residential building in the zone of Ostia, and was painted by street artist Iena Cruz. What is so special about it? Thanks to a mechanism known as photo-catalysis, the ecological paint in question is activated by light, which frees its oxidizing molecules which can transform the harmful particles in the air into inert salts. This helps to reduce the level of volatile organic composts, nitrogen monoxide and dioxide in the air, and more. The product can also reduce the presence of toxic bacteria.

“Hunting Pollution” represents a heron resting on a barrel of oil, the symbol of our society, which is apparently incapable of stopping the self-destructive process of consuming our planet’s resources and disrupting the balance of Nature, with obvious consequences on the climate

The choice of location is not a random one. Not only is this a busy intersection, where its properties as a “filter” for air pollution are totally appropriate, the large mural will also become part of a context in which street art is already well-entrenched. Just a few meters away is one of the most important works by Blu, the famous street artist who in 2014 completed a large painting on two sides of a former three-story military warehouse, first abandoned and later squatted.

The artistic interpretation of the initiative promoted by Yourban2030 was the work of a team led by Federico Massa, a.k.a. Iena Cruz, a young street artist from Milan who moved to New York 8 years ago, and wishes to pay tribute to those who allowed him to paint a corner of Rome: «I would especially like to thank Yourban2030, a non-profit association that addresses environmental issues by means of art and which supported me before and during the 21 days it took to complete the mural».

His career has followed a circuitous path, introducing him to cultures that are very different and distant from our own. The most important of them was the Mexican culture, with its strong use of symbols and colours, clearly visible in his works. We interviewed him to get a better understanding of his career, and his work.


translation by Olga Barmine

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