PARIS (Reuters) – American artist Jeff Koons unveiled in Paris on Friday his sculpture Bouquet of Tulips, a tribute to the victims of militant Islamist attacks in the French capital in November 2015.
The 12-meter (40 ft) high piece depicts a giant hand squeezing a bouquet of eleven colourful tulips, a flower that in some cultures symbolises love.
Koons said he created the Bouquet of Tulips to show Americans’ support and solidarity for the French people after the attacks in which a total of 130 people were killed.
“I did, as a citizen in New York, experience 9/11 and the depression that hung over the city. It really took years for the city to be able to come to life again”, Koons told reporters.
Koons said that 80% of the proceeds from selling the copyright of the artwork will go to the victims’ families. The remaining 20% will be dedicated to its maintenance.
“The memory, commemorations, art, everything we do that can recall the memory of our loved ones, is vital”, said Dominique Kielemoes, a member of the “13onze15” victims’ association who lost her son in the attacks.
The inauguration of the artwork comes after years of dispute. The original venue for the work, near Paris landmark the Palais de Tokyo, was abandoned after officials decided it interrupted views of the Eiffel Tower, French media reported.
The venue finally chosen is near the Petit Palais, an art museum in central Paris.
(Writing by Matthieu Protard; Editing by Toby Chopra)