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23 December 2010, 21:41. Everest, all programs »

Associated Press.  NEW YORK — True art can be an elevated pursuit — in this case an elevation of approximately 29,000 feet.  Three small panels of a massive painting project that has been displayed at the United Nations are set to be carried to the top of Mount Everest in March, artist and political cartoonist Ranan Lurie said Wednesday.

The three acrylic-on-canvas panels — together measuring about 2 feet by 3 feet — represent just a small fraction of the dozens of pieces making up the 600-foot-long "Uniting Painting" project.

The 78-year-old artist, who's been working on his "Uniting Painting" project since 1968, says it offers viewers a "common denominator."

By enjoying the different pieces of the artwork, he said, "we respect the same thing."

"Although we come from different cultures and different places," he said, "we have an artistic Esperanto that we can talk through and with. And unite."

Lurie says he hopes that displaying the paintings on the peak of the world's highest mountain will show the scope of the work's message.

The project's dozens of panels depict similar flowing shapes that continue from one panel to the next, though the colors and motifs change. The panels selected to be carried by professional Nepalese climbers are largely blue and white to reflect the colors of clouds, sky and snow found at their destination, Lurie said.