“Sistine Chapel” at United Nations sparks controversy (News Feature)
As Spanish artist Miquel Barcelo prepares for the unveiling of his most gigantic work so far at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, he is at the height of his artistic glory.
Only a political squabble over the cost of the art work is casting a shadow over the ceremony, which will be attended by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Spain’s King Juan Carlos and Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero on Tuesday, November 18.
Barcelo, who is being compared with Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) and Joan Miro (1893-1983), worked for 13 months on redecorating a negotiating room which will now be known as the Chamber for Human Rights and the Alliance of Civilizations. The Alliance of Civilizations project was launched by Zapatero and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to improve dialogue between the West and the Muslim world in 2006.
(…) The budget to renovate the room amounted to nearly 20 million euros (25 million dollars), 60 per cent of which was covered by Spanish sponsors.
The rest was given by the government, including 500,000 euros that were lifted from a development aid fund.
‘Art has no price,’ Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said, eliciting criticism from the conservative opposition which said the same money could have been used for vaccinating children or opening water holes in developing countries.
Don’t think this needs any comments… It’s a shame.