Abu Dhabi: The Founder’s Memorial, a permanent national tribute to the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, on Sunday revealed details of the centrepiece of the memorial ‘The Constellation’, which is a monumental public artwork that honours Shaikh Zayed’s enduring legacy.
Located at the intersection of first and second street along the Abu Dhabi Corniche, The Founder’s Memorial will open to the public in spring 2018.
The memorial was officially inaugurated in Abu Dhabi to coincide with the national and international Year of Zayed initiative.
Describing the Constellation, a press release issued by the Founder’s Memorial on Monday said it is one of the largest art installations of its kind. Housed within a monumental pavilion of 30x30x30 metres in size, the artwork is formed by a combination of shapes suspended in space that create a series of evolving personal encounters with Shaikh Zayed’s image. The Constellation is unique in its use of abstract portraiture on this scale.
The artwork consists of 1,327 geometric shapes suspended from 1,110 cables. These constitute five different types of regular, convex polyhedrons known as ‘platonic solids’, shapes which are renowned for their mathematical beauty and symmetry.
The Constellation weighs 250 tonnes, while the steel structure of the roof supporting it weighs 190 tonnes. More than 5,745 counterweights hold the suspended shapes in place, which form a series of profiles of Shaikh Zayed when viewed from different perspectives both within the memorial’s landscape and from outside along the Corniche.
The artwork is celebrating Shaikh Zayed as a guiding star for the UAE.
Illuminated by more than 2,000 lights, the suspended shapes of ‘The Constellation’ shine like stars at night. This celestial display evokes the timelessness of Shaikh Zayed’s vision, which continues to offer the UAE nation a guiding light along the path of progress and prosperity.
The artwork was conceptualised and designed by public artist Ralph Helmick, whose practice explores human perception through large-scale public sculptures and installations that invite optical discovery. When conceptualising the artwork, Ralph let Shaikh Zayed’s legacy guide the design in terms of both scope and endurance, in order to engage a real connection with the man and the leader.