Abu Dhabi: The first permanent public sculpture was unveiled on Wednesday outside the Diwan of General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
The sculpture consists of nine pieces, each an individual letter in bronze, which together make up the word 'Tolerance'. The work has been created by artist Guy Ferrer, one of France's preeminent contemporary sculptors and painters.
Shaikh Sultan Bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Authority of Culture and Heritage, and Shaikha Hessa Bint Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan unveiled the sculpture in a ceremony attended by artists, culture figures and school students who carried flags of worldwide countries while a folklore band played and performed traditional music.
"This sculpture is for the people of Abu Dhabi - everybody who lives, works and visits here. It has been gifted to the nation by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi," said Shaikh Sultan Bin Tahnoun in his speech.
The work shows the commitment of the government of Abu Dhabi, to become a global ideas capital, reflecting the vision of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
"The Rulers of Abu Dhabi have long had an appreciation of the importance of art and culture to human well being and the development of society," Shaikh Tahnoun. "During the early years of our nation we focused on building the infrastructure of our society - the roads, the bridges, the transport infrastructure and the buildings.
"As our city evolves and develops we are keen to make sure that we put the people at the centre of what we do. Human enjoyment of our public spaces is an essential component of building a flourishing city."
The sculpture has been installed at the entrance to the Crown Prince's Diwan on Baynuna and 25th street junction to allow everybody to enjoy it. A public parking area will be created to allow people to stop and enjoy the sculpture close up.
The work was first conceived in 2004 by the artist in reaction to a global preoccupation with theological differences. Guy Ferrer told Gulf News that his work carries values of "harmony, peace and love".
The unveiling of 'Tolerance' takes place during a week of significant arts and culture-related activities, including Art Paris international art fair and the Abu Dhabi Collectors' Programme.