|The Inscription on the Sculpture|
Monument 'Convivencia' in Vitoria unveiled with much publicity (Jan05)
The inauguration of “Convivencia” In the city of Vitoria took place on December 10, 2004 (the Day of the declaration of Human Rights). The unveiling was witnessed by a large audience. Speeches were held by the Mayor of Vitoria , the Israeli ambassador to Spain, Antonio Munoz – neighbourhood citizen and enthusiastic supporter of the project- and by Yael Artsi.
Thoughts of Yael Artsi about the sculpture. In the city of Vitoria (Capitol of the Basque country in Spain , 220.000 inhabitants.), there is a park, called the “ Judimenti Park ”. The name means “Mountain of the Jews”. It is one of the cities most historical parks and its name originates from the fact that it was the cemetery of the large Jewish population, who lived in Vitoria until their expulsion in 1492. The sculpture “Convivencia” from Yael Artsi is placed in this park and expresses “Peaceful Cohabitation”.
The book symbolizes Culture, Wisdom and Religion. It unlocks the history of mankind; it is a witness of the present and it guides us on our way to an uncertain future. The book is universal.
The book is divided in two parts to enable the passers-by to enter and leave at their own pace and taste the sensation of being part of a world greater than we can comprehend.
Isaiah. The artist has engraved a passage from the Old Testament. It is a message of peace, to commemorate the period in Vitoria before the Inquisition when culture was flourishing and when the three main monotheistic religions were practiced by the inhabitants of Spain in a peaceful and tolerant way. The text is written on different pages of the sculpture in Spanish, Basque and Hebrew:
“They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore”
The anvil in front of the book, a miraculous tool, enforces the text, engraved in the stone. Since a long time the Basque people used and mixed iron with art. In the Middle Ages the craft of metalworking reached such a high level, that it has never been surpassed until today. One cannot often enough express a deep respect for the anvil that connects our far past with our present.
Young olive trees are planted all around the sculpture and through the rest of the Judimenti parc. The sculpture has a height of 300cm and is 750cm wide. It is made from Jerusalem stone, coming from Hebron. It took Yael about three months to create it in her kibutz in Sdot Yam.