French Sculptor’s Twin Towers Tribute
Given the unique horror of the event there are many who still remember where they were or what they were doing when the World Trade Center was attacked on 11 September 2001 — among them is French sculptor Jean-Sébastien Raud.
Jean-Sébastien Raud lives and works in Puteaux, near the high rise towers of the La Défense business district in Paris. At the time of the September 11 attack, he was on a train between Paris and Toulouse. “After arriving in Toulouse a friend broke the news. I was astounded and at first I just didn’t believe it. It was the images on the TV screens that changed all that. I think I shall forever be marked by the footage showing victims hurling themselves out of windows in the towers. The event triggered a response and I set to work to offer a sculpture in tribute to freedom and to the victims of the Twin Towers.”
“On the evening of the attack, I had a vision for this sculpture. I made drawings and sketches and within some three weeks I completed the work,” he says adding that he felt driven by shock and horror and a sense of wanting to contribute to assuaging people’s hurt. Designed as a symbol of “resistance, freedom and peace,” the bronze represents the twin towers embedded in a shirtless man, leaning on a sword, and a naked woman handcuffed and blindfolded. The naked woman symbolizes “the inherent fragility of victims” and the blindfolds on the man and the woman represent, “the blind victims of terrorism.”
Initially it was inaugurated in France at “La Defense”, the business hub of Paris and has received acclaim and support from the public.
Jean-Sébastien Raud told French News Online: “The sculpture — a symbol of peace and friendship between French-speaking countries and the United States and representing hope — has so far travelled more than 10,000 miles and been exhibited in Quebec, and around Europe, with the help of ministers, senators, deputies, Mr Craig R. Stapleton U.S. Ambassador to France and Mr. Koichiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO”.
Now, the sculptor says, I would really like it to be seen by as many people in the US as possible. It has been 10 years since I started a journey with my statute based on a fraternal wish and I would be particularly happy should this piece of art together with its visitors’ books finally find a resting place in the United States of America. “Art is a vector for comprehension between people. It is also a means to create strong symbols where one can express the deep feelings for which words cannot do justice.”
However so far his efforts at finding a permanent home for the tribute in New York have been rebuffed by silence. Unfortunately, he says as a result the very people most directly affected by the events of September 2001 — New Yorkers to whom the work is dedicated — have not yet had a chance to see it.
“I am hoping that someone influential in New York will read this report and contact me so we can make arrangements for the bronze finally to find its proper home,” he added.
The statue will be on display at his next exhibition for Art Capital taking place on the Champs-Élysées, Paris between the Place-Élysées Clémenceau and Place Concorde in the “ Salon d’automne” from October 31st to November 4th, 2013 and opening on Wednesday, October 30th at 17:30.
Jean Sebastien RAUD
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Story: Ken Pottinger
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