"FACING NATIONS - culture of humanity" exhibit celebrates human rights

10 December 2008
"Facing Nations - culture of humanity" exhibit celebrates human rights

"Facing Nations - culture of humanity" exhibit celebrates human rights

The United Nations Information Service (UNIS) in Vienna, in cooperation with the Austrian state broadcaster ORF and a number of other partners, cosponsored a project to mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The idea behind "FACING NATIONS - culture of humanity" is to give each person a face, regardless of origin, skin colour, gender, religion, or political beliefs, in the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Inspired by the knowledge that the Austrian city of Graz (pop. 250,000) has people from over 150 different countries residing in it, the artist Oskar Stocker spent 8 months meeting, sketching and eventually painting portraits of as many different nationalities as possible. The result is a 150-meter-long 'humanity' panorama, with 124 portraits of Graz residents of different nationalities.

Participants in the project were interviewed and their life stories were recorded. A fascinating picture  -- both literally and figuratively -- emerged, a cross-section of global society all concentrated in Graz. Participation in the project was entirely voluntary and the selection was made on the basis of availability and chance to a large extent.

The panorama was officially unveiled on 9 December 2008 in the presence of the Austrian Federal President, local politicians and a wide range of guests. From 10-21 December 2008 the exhibit will be open to the public and there will be an educational component with special tours and information stands for student groups. The panorama will be permanently displayed in Graz and a traveling exhibition will tour the globe and open in venues such as United Nations duty stations and other appropriate locations.

For more information about this project, visit the "Facing Nations" website.