100-year-old Swiss artist unveils mural at UN
Swiss artist Hans Erni at age 100 unveiled one of his largest works on Saturday, a massive mural on the outside wall of the U.N. compound in Geneva.world Updated: Jun 08, 2009 14:07 IST
Swiss artist Hans Erni at age 100 unveiled one of his largest works on Saturday, a massive mural on the outside wall of the U.N. compound in Geneva.
The irrepressible Erni, who has long outlived 20th-century artist friends like Pablo Picasso, had to cover up some of the muscular nudes in his mural after concerns were expressed in Geneva that his original design might shock some viewers, U.N. spokeswoman Marie Heuze said.
Erni pointed out to Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey that the 60-yard (meter) long mural on the outside wall of the U.N.'s European headquarters features a line drawing of one of his favorite symbols, the dove of peace.
The mural _ with a section on either side of the entrance to the U.N. park and buildings _ also underscores the world organization as a uniting force for all races.
The predominantly blue mural is six feet (two meters) high and is made up of hundreds of weatherproof ceramic tiles, which were created according to Erni's design and then assembled and glued in place.
Erni said he was pleased to see his creation revealed for the first time.
"This satisfies me completely," he told The Associated Press. "I want to prove that the inside and outside of the United Nations have become one and want our world to save itself through peace." But, he added, the reality of daily life shows that humankind still has much to do if it is to eliminate weapons. Erni, who was born in February 1909, remains an active artist in his hometown of Lucerne in central Switzerland. He and his wife, Doris, attribute their longevity in part to their can-do approach to life and their daily hour-long swims.