Standing on the corner of the Paralympic Village Plaza is a structure made of tiles, decorated with waves of orange, blue, green – the colours of Rio 2016 – and messages written in various languages.
This structure – the Paralympic Mural – was officially unveiled on Wednesday (6 September) during a ceremony held at the Paralympic Village. Ever since the Village opened its doors to athletes for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, the mural has been signed by Para athletes and their nation’s Chef de Missions.
During the unveiling ceremony, International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Sir Philip Craven addressed the attendees, which included IPC Governing Board Members, United Nations (UN) Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace Wilfried Lemke, and President of the Rio 2016 Organising Committee Carlos Nuzman.
“It is not a wall. It is a mural. A wall is a barrier,” Sir Philip said. “You just need to look at what countries we have here, and I am not being selective: Rawanda, Myanmar, I know we have Switzerland in the bottom, then you have Peru, Norway – all these nations… This mural is about changing the world forever.”
Unveiled before the start of the Paralympic Games, the Mural signifies the IPC, UN and Rio 2016’s commitment to the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in creating “a new world without barriers and limits to human abilities”.
It is a monument to work toward keeping truce, peace, ceasefire and inclusion, and the Paralympic values of courage, determination, inspiration and equality.
It will remain there throughout the duration of the Games for athletes to write their dreams and wishes on the tiles.
After the Games, the Mural will be displayed at the Olympic and Paralympic Museum in Rio.
“Society does not change when you pass laws,” Sir Philip said. “You only change by people having positive experiences. That is what can happen when people attend and watch the Paralympic Games. They say if those people can do it then so can I. That is not just people with an impairment. That is everybody in Brazil, and in the world.”