Celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the Human Rights Declaration next month have been launched with a major work of art.
The dome of the UN human rights headquarters in Geneva has been decorated by Spanish artist Miquel Barcelo, and King Juan Carlos was the guest of honour at its inauguration.
“Respect for human rights is the indispensable foundation for lasting peace and sustainable development,” said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. “I am pleased to inaugurate this room on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the universal Human Rights Declaration.”
More than half of the 20 million euro bill was picked up by Spain, sparking criticism that Madrid has wasted vital aid funds on modern art. King Juan Carlos rejected that: “There is nothing better than art for expressing in universal language the values, principles and aims which inspire the work of the United Nations,” he said.
The sheer size of the work forced Barcelo to develop new methods of bringing his vision to life. He invented the unique cannon which sprayed paint onto the room’s roof. Some guests were worried it might fall on their heads, but Barcelo assured them his paint was extra-strong, and their human rights were safe.