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Albanian artist builds Mother Teresa's mosaic with staples

Posted November 28

— An Albanian artist on Monday unveiled a portrait of Mother Teresa using staples, in a call for European countries to stop raising fences to shut their borders to refugees.

Built in less than a month, Saimir Strati unveiled the 10-square-meter (12-square-yard) mosaic portrait of Teresa, built with 1.5 million wire staples, at the National Museum of Kosovo in the capital, Pristina.

Strati's idea came after seeing hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees coming to Europe while diplomacy and politics failed to resolve their situation.

"Only Mother Teresa's humanism may save them," Strati told The Associated Press. "This is Mother Teresa's year."

The 50-year-old Strati decided to unveil the portrait on Albania's independence day. The tiny Western Balkan nation was part of the Ottoman Empire for almost five centuries until Nov. 28, 1912.

Teresa, who was recently made a saint, was born to Albanian parents.

Strati detested that some countries have erected fences to hold back refugees coming to Europe for a better life.

Teresa's canonization by Pope Francis at the Vatican in September and the migrant crisis inspired him to create his latest mosaic.

Strati is hoping for his 10th Guinness World record in as many years for a piece of art using the most staples, following nine other mosaics using items like toothpicks, coffee beans and wine corks.

For the Teresa portrait, he used white and brown staples readily available in many stores.

"I saw so many staples used for leaflets and papers at the G-20 summit. But those papers have yet to bring peace and a better life in this world," he said.

Strati donated his mosaic to the Kosovo museum. On Wednesday, he will send documentation to the Guinness World Record office.

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Llazar Semini reported from Tirana, Albania.

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