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Art Invades the United Nations - ABC News

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Art Invades the United Nations

By Troy McMullen, ABC News
May 8, 2013 3:55pm

Australian artist Andrew Rogers has been creating sculptures for world leaders for decades.  Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard, former Mexican President Vincente Fox and the late Nazi hunter and holocaust survivor Simon Wiesenthal have all commissioned his work.

So it’s little surprise that when the New York City Department of Parks set out to add art to the grounds around the United Nations building on Manhattan’s east side they chose Mr Andrews.

Fifteen bronze sculptures, measuring heights of up to 12 feet, were unveiled this week at the UN’s Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza.  Each bronze work in the project called ‘Individuals’ is balanced on a curled base that unfurls as it extends upwards and outward in a continuously undulating spiral movement, Rogers explains.

“We are all individuals possessing the sanctity of a singular life and the ability to express ourselves,” Mr. Rogers said in a statement.  “These individual figurative forms come together as a close community, yet it is always to be remembered that it is the individual that makes our world a pace of justice and compassion.”

Rogers isn’t new at creating grand, symbolic artwork for public spaces.

His ongoing ‘Rhythms of Life’ project spans 13 years and 13 countries on all seven continents working with over 6,700 people in creating sculptures in national parks, deserts, and mountain ranges.  The project is billed as the largest contemporary land art undertaking in history.

Former World Bank President James Wolfensohn presided over the unveiling ceremony of Mr. Rogers’ new work this week and called the project and its creator exceptional.

“He has a unique understanding of the importance of expressions through his work as a sculptor,” Wolfensohn said.  “With resilience and creativity his piece has a global impact in uplifting and empowering the human spirit.”