Geneva, 11 October 2016 – To commemorate United Nations Day this year, a monumental art installation by Spanish artist Cristóbal Gabarrón will be unveiled on 24 October at 12:30 p.m. at the Rotonde du Mont-Blanc in Geneva. 

The installation, titled Enlightened Universe, is an interactive sculpture depicting 70 life-size figures joined in hand around a central globe, creating a human chain of global citizenship, solidarity, tolerance, respect for nature, and shared responsibility. It was originally created for the 70th anniversary of the United Nations last year. 

The public is invited to attend the inauguration, which will take place in the presence of UNOG Director-General Michael Møller, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, Ana María Menéndez Pérez, Spain’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Steve Bernard, Chief of External Relations at the City of Geneva, and the artist Cristóbal Gabarrón. 

“This installation honouring the values of the United Nations is a good reminder of everyone’s responsibility in meeting this world’s challenges, which are captured in the Sustainable Development Goals,” says UN Geneva Director-General Michael Møller. “I hope this art piece inspires the Geneva public to action for implementing the Goals. I am grateful to the Gabarrón Foundation for bringing it here and to the City of Geneva for hosting it in such a prominent location.” 

For his part, the Mayor of Geneva, Guillaume Barazzone, says: “It is not by chance that this art piece, which symbolizes the world’s yearning for peace and tolerance, be given a central place in the heart of Geneva, which has the privilege of hosting the United Nations.” 
The interactive installation encourages visitors to walk through the passageway created by the chain of figures to reach the central sphere. The artist has deliberately left a gap between two of the figures so visitors may complete the chain and thus become part of the art installation. 

"Bringing Enlightened Universe to Geneva is for me the starting point of the European exhibition series of this art installation, designed to spread and foster UN values and principles,” says the artist, Cristóbal Gabarrón. “It is an honour that this embrace of solidarity, represented by 70 figures holding hands around the sphere that symbolizes Earth, could be completed by Genevans and visitors to the city.” 

The sphere and spiral that compose Enlightened Universe are made from stainless steel and weigh 24 tons. The sphere measures 6,371 millimetres in diameter, in reference to the earth’s radius of 6,371 kilometres. 

Geneva is the installation’s first stop in Europe after its inaugural exhibition last year in New York’s Central Park. After departing Geneva in mid-December, Enlightened Universe will travel to other European cities in 2017 and 2018. 

About Cristobal Gabarrón (b. 1945)

Born in Mula (Murcia), Spain, Cristóbal Gabarrón received his early artistic training in Valladolid before pursuing his career in France and Italy. Currently residing in Spain and the United States, Gabarrón centers his work on the idea of the life of individuals and the coexistence and development of human values. Throughout his 50-year career, he has been frequently commissioned to develop landmark projects such as The Olympic Mural for the Barcelona Olympic Games (1992) and the sculptural project Atlanta Start (1996). His collaboration with the United Nations started in 1986, when he designed the World Peace Stamp to celebrate the UN International Peace Year, and continued with his artwork for the UN New Millennium Summit (2000) and the Millennium Chapel (2001). Last September a monumental sculpture of his to celebrate the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China. Recently the City and Museums of Cannes organized a major retrospective exhibition of his public art. For Cristobal Gabarrón, education through art is an important part of his motivation and drives the new strategic programs of his foundations. 

Media contact:
Rhéal LeBlanc, United Nations Information Service, 022 917 23 36 or rleblanc@unog.ch