Expatica news

UN unveils new ceiling artwork by Spanish painter

19 November 2008

GENEVA – A new ceiling artwork meant to inspire dialogue, human rights and global solidarity was unveiled Tuesday at the United Nation’s Geneva office.

The work, created by Spanish abstract painter Miquel Barcelo, graces a room where groups like the UN’s Human Rights Council and the High Level Group of the Alliance of Civilisations meet.

The artwork and associated renovations cost nearly EUR 20 million (CHF 30.4 million) and were unveiled before a gathering of high-level dignitaries. Sixty percent of the cost was covered by Spanish donors and the rest by the government.

"The time has come to take multilateralism to a new, stronger and inclusive level," said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, before officially launching the room alongside King Juan Carlos I of Spain and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey and Spain co-chair the High Level Group of the Alliance for Civilizations, which researches polarisation of cultures and societies in the modern world. The alliance was formed in 2005 by former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, who was also present at the ceremony.

The artwork drips off the ceiling like stalactites in a cave and is surrounded by patterns meant to symbolise the sea. Barcelo explained the multicoloured work, with strong green-blue tones and bright splashes of red and orange, tries to promote human rights, cooperation and dialogue.

"We must have a full range of views if we are to properly address global challenges," said Ban, noting that the artwork’s colours and shapes look different from various spots in the elliptical room.

Barcelo was praised for using innovative techniques and original mixes of materials to create the cave and sea-like feel of the new ceiling. However, some critics questioned the high cost of the project.

[dpa / Expatica]