Giant Swiss artwork ‘unveiled’ at the United Nations

The giant fresco in Manhattan, beside the UN building (to the left). Keystone / Valentin Flauraud

Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis on Saturday inaugurated an 11,000 square metre fresco by Franco-Swiss artist Saype at the United Nations in New York.

This content was published on September 18, 2021 - 18:28

The artwork, “World in Progress II”, symbolises the desire to strengthen international solidarity, the foreign ministry said in a statement on Saturday. The first part of Saype’s World in Progress was presented at the Palais des Nations in Geneva in June 2020, for the 75th anniversary of the founding of the UN.

“The time has come to commit to better global governance, to more peace and more justice,” Cassis said during the inauguration on Saturday, which was also attended by UN secretary-general António Guterres.

Saype at work; his technique involves spraying bio-degradable paint onto large areas. Keystone / Valentin Flauraud

Cassis insisted on the need to work more on conflict prevention and on strengthening cooperation between parties involved in peace-building, be they states, non-governmental organisations, the academic community or the private sector.

As for the artwork, the ephemeral fresco shows two children building the world of the future, and represents the participation of young people in the UN reform process.

Secretary-general Guterres said the work was a fitting one for the UN, where individual people and details need to work together to build a functioning overall picture.

The inauguration comes during the 76th UN General Assembly, which has been running since September 14, and which Cassis will officially attend – along with Swiss President Guy Parmelin – from Monday to Wednesday this week.

The priorities of the Swiss pair will include pushing the Swiss candidacy for a seat on the UN Security Council for the period 2023-2024; a vote on this will be held at the General Assembly in June next year.

Another of Saype's recent works, entitled "a new breath", in canton Fribourg. Keystone / Valentin Flauraud

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