Wednesday, June 01, 1988

The story so far 01

“I would like to see the underside of Istanbul’s Bosphorus Bridge painted. Can you imagine? The longest painting in the world between two continents spanning the underneath of the Bogazici Koprusu, from East to West and back again!”
Ned Pamphilon 1999

I am English, an artist and everything I do is under the banner of NPP: Ned Pamphilon Productions. The idea of painting the underside of the Bosphorus Bridge was first conceived late summer 1997, while sat in a friend’s small wooden fishing boat beneath the bridge. I wanted to present the idea to Turkey and decided the most direct course of action was to present the Rainbow Bridge concept via the Turkish media. It took until 2005 for German company BASF to became aware of the concept and offer to supply the necessary paint and expertise to implement the project. I had already become fascinated with Turkey and the Rainbow Bridge project sealed my connection with Turkey for years to come. This is the story so far……

I first visited Turkey in 1988 singing and touring with a rock band. The band performed at USA military bases in Spain, Sardinia, Corsica, Italy, Greece and finally Turkey. Turkey was not an entirely positive experience and I must confess my plan was to never visit that '3rd world hell hole' again.

I later sidelined musical activities to concentrate on painting and drawing, travelling to such places as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Texas, Uganda and Kuala Lumpur. In the mid 1990's, a best friend was posted to Istanbul and invited me to visit. One boat trip on the Bosphorus made me completely reassess my view of the country. I returned to produce an exhibition of pen and ink drawings in 1995 titled An Englishman in Istanbul. In 1997 I produced my first exhibition of paintings in Turkey, titled An Englishman still in Istanbul.

In 1999 NPP produced its first public exhibition in Turkey at the Grand Bazaar titled Istanbul? Yeah! It was then I first started talking publicly about a vision to promote Turkey and use the Rainbow Bridge project as a focus. If I knew so little about Turkey, it probably meant a great many others other foreigners also knew very little about a country of 70,000,000 million people right slap in the middle of today's known world. I decided to make NPP imagery synonymous with Turkey and promote a better awareness and understanding all round...

“Pamphilon’s bridge painting project is ridiculous, amazing and impossible.”
Ann Musser-Ercan, Turkish Daily News, 20 June 1999

06 May 2001 - The first mock-up image of Rainbow Bridge appeared within the media via the Turkish Daily News...

December 2003 NPP instructed Selcuk Ozupek to print 1,000 poster-calendars for 2004 featuring the image Where East Meets West and including a request to support Rainbow Bridge at the now defunct Perhaps one day I'll buy the domain name back again.

Turkish TV star Okan Bayulgen saw the poster, liked the project and I was invited onto his popular live late night Zaga TV show.

Saturday 13 December 2003 - The Zaga Show. I'd recently found a D & G rainbow coloured jumper back in Norwich, UK, and believing it perfect to promote the rainbow project bought it on a whim. It was far too hot beneath studio lights, but never the less did the job as Rainbow Bridge was presented to a young audience at 3.00hr Sunday morning. Melis Mutus from the Sabanci Holding company kindly accompanied me to translate. At about 2.30am I had been wondering if this late hour was worth the effort. By Monday I had my answer because had received over 100,000 hits and a quick vote counter for Rainbow Bridge went from 200 to over 30,000 votes. I'm not sure entirely what Okan said that night, but this kind of comment was constructive...

"Look at this guy! None of us are thinking like he does. Why does it take a foreigner to come to our country and show us such a simple, intelligent idea to promote our country? It's an inspired idea and it will be an inspired decision for our authorities and our country to let this happen.”
Okan Bayulgen, Zaga, Kanal D, 13 December 2003

It was an encouraging situation going into Xmas 2004.

Go to The story so far 02