On Saturday, October 24th, the United Nations celebrated its 70th Anniversary by unveiling artist Cristobal Gabarron’s sculpture, Enlightened Universe, in Central Park’s Rumsey Playing Field. The large-scale, colorful interactive installation includes a twenty-four ton, stainless steel sphere with faceted mirror finish, surrounded by a spiral of seventy life-size figures – one for each year that the United Nations has been in existence.
The sphere measures 6,371 millimeters in diameter, a scaled down model of the Earth, which measures 6,371 kilometers in radius. The figures represent all ages, genders, cultures and ethnicities, hands joined to created a human chain of global citizenship, respect for nature and shared responsibility – the values of the UN.
Last minute touches still going on at 3:30 pm, with the Opening Ceremony due to begin at 4:30 pm
The figures circling the sphere are joining hands, representing solidarity, freedom, equality, tolerance, respect for nature, education, and cultures. The entire installation is open for visitors to walk around and along with the spiral of figures to the sphere, with their image reflecting, as if part of the installation.
As you enter Central Park on East 72nd Street, the colorful Enlightened Universe comes into view
Over one hundred people were in attendance for the celebration and ribbon cutting including UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and his wife Madam Yoo (Ban) Soon-Taek, NYC Commissioner of Parks and Recreation Mitchell J. Silver, President of the UN General Assembly Morgens Lykketoft, the artist Cristobal Gabarron and others.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. His wife sits on the left (in red)
Our Commissioner of Parks and Recreation, Mitchell Silver, reiterated his commitment to art in our public parks, speaking of how central this program is to our city. For young and old, this is a way to nourish our minds, hearts and souls, he said.
The artist Cristobal Gabarron at the podium
The artist, Cristobal Gabarron was born in Spain, receiving his first training in Valladolid, going on to pursue his early artistic career in France and Italy. Throughout his career, his art has lent itself to the coexistence and development of human values. So it is not surprising that he was chosen as the artist to create the vision that marks the 70th anniversary of the United Nations. As it happens, he had his 70th birthday this past April.
Gabarron’s resume is global and extensive, and includes such work as The Olympic Mural for the Barcelona Olympic Games, the Encounter Mural for the Universal Exhibition of Seville (1992), the Official Poster for the Millennium Summit and the Millennium Chapel (2000-2001) and many others. Since 1992, Gabarron has established three foundations – Valladolid, New York and Murcia, which were set up with his intension of giving back to society by implementing artistic and cultural activities creating awareness through the arts.
The artist, Cristobal Gabarron cutting the ribbon. Mitchell Silver to his left, HE Ban Ki-Moon to his right
The installation is presented by The Gabarron Foundation, in partnership with the United Nations. The Gabarron Foundation Carriage House Center for the Arts is a nonprofit institution and international center promoting the cultural wealth and identity of the Spanish and American Culture. The landmarked building, located at 149 East 38th Street, was built in 1902 by renowned architect Ralph S. Townsend.
After the ribbon cutting, all were invited to form a human chain, surrounding the sphere. This show of support for universal values will be repeated at the same time and on the same day of each week during the installations stay in Central Park. The installation will eventually travel to different major cities throughout the world, repeating the same program of promise.