It's longer than an Olympic swimming pool, took two-and-a-half years to complete and fulfills a 40-year dream -- a new mega-canvas by one of Uzbekistan's best-known artists, inspired by "One Thousand and One Nights".
Now, the immense painting by Lekim Ibragimov is on its way to Europe, where it will be put on show first in the Czech Republic and then in other European countries.
Ibragimov started working on the project -- named "One Thousand Angels and One Painting" -- in 2010 and put the finishing touches on it in April.
It measures eight meters (26 feet) high, an extraordinary 66 meters (215 feet) long, used several tons of paint and is so big it takes days to be installed on site.
The work's 1,000 paintings stand alone as individual pictures in their own right, but when put together also form a single continuous painting based on the classic oriental folk tale.
"While every piece, each depicting an image of angel, is itself a painting of full value, they make a single unified painting when assembled together," the 68-year-old painter told Agence France Presse.
In each of the 1,000 pictures Ibragimov has included the image of an angel, and visitors are encouraged to search hard in the picture to "find your own guardian angel".
"In fact, the angels have always been present on my paintings and this is why the mega-project is a logical continuation of my creative career," said Ibragimov, who is an academic at Uzbekistan's Arts Academy and an honorary member of the Russian Academy of Arts.
The artist, who combined graphical and pictorial art mixing Uzbek and Chinese fresco painting styles with European color-blending techniques, said he had been dreaming of such a mega-project for almost four decades.
It is a massive undertaking.
With its installation equipment, the work weighs more than 20 tons, with 2.4 kilometers (1.5 miles) of steel cables, and it will take four days for at least four people to install its more than 500 square meters (5,500 square feet) like a giant curved panorama.
Most of the cargo has already reached Prague, with several Czech companies providing logistical support.
-- 'Next stop Madrid and Florence' --
The vast painting is marked by bold red and blue colors and exuberant brush strokes. When fully mounted it is displayed in a curved formation supported by a scaffold behind it, with visitors free to walk from each end.
Ibragimov explains the presence of the Buddha-like figures and terracotta colour as a reference to the pre-Islamic history of Central Asia.
The work will be displayed at the Incheba Praha exhibition center in Prague from July 9-21 with free admission, according to Roman Masarik, the Czech Republic’s top diplomat in Uzbekistan.
"We hope it will be very interesting for many people in Prague," he told AFP. "We are very happy that Mr Ibragimov desired that his work first be shown in Prague."
Ibragimov was born in the Almaty region of then-Soviet Kazakhstan but moved in the 1970s to Tashkent, where he was inspired by Uzbekistan's eastern culture and its position on the fabled "Silk Road" of ancient trade.
The Russia-based event-management company Global Festina helped him realize the mega-project, which has required a huge logistical effort to ensure the artwork is transported to Europe intact.
After Prague, the mega-artwork will be displayed in Madrid, according to a Global Festina spokesman.
"We are in negotiations with the Madrid city administration to display it in the city center, in the open air. The next destination could be Italy's Florence, but it depends on weather conditions," Ulugbek Kasimkhodjaev told AFP.
The project has been submitted to the Guinness World Records Committee as "the world's largest painting consisting of 1,000 pieces", according to Kasimkhodjaev, who argues that the artwork is unique and not a mosaic.
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