‘Freedom Sculpture’ Based On Cyrus’ Cylinder Unveiled In Santa Monica

As crowds across the USA celebrated Independence Day on 4th July, 2017, Santa Monica Boulevard (Los Angeles) unveiled the ‘Freedom Sculpture’, a magnificent public art installation inspired by ancient Persia’s eminent archaeological artefact, the historical Cyrus Cylinder – meant to celebrate the ‘ideals of freedom, respect for diversity, and inclusiveness’. Unveiled by prominent Iranian developer Ali Razi (77), and designed by Cecil Balmond, the Freedom Sculpture is a massive stainless steel monument that is looked upon as a beacon for the world by the Iranian American community, in keeping with the symbolic reference of Cyrus Cylinder – religious freedom, cultural diversity and inclusiveness. The event saw a strong turnout of over 75,000 people, including Homi Gandhi, President, FEZANA (Federation of Zoroastrian Associations of North America) and President Tehmi Damania, ZAC (Zoroastrian Association of California) along with a number of ZAC representatives.

Conceptualised and organized by the Farhang Foundation and crowd-funded by over a million people, the Freedom Sculpture started as an art competition launched in 2014, attracting over 300 global submissions, before the winning entry was finalised by curators from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, in late 2015. Farhang Foundation chose LA as it’s considered as one of the most diverse cities in the world, mirroring the diversity of the Iranian American community.

The Cyrus Cylinder, championed as the first Human Rights Charter in the history of the world, is an ancient clay cylinder, dating back to 539 BCE, in which the Persian Zoroastrian king belonging to the world’s largest, 2,500-plus-year-old, Achaemenid Empire – Cyrus the Great, dictated unprecedented political principles – the oldest edict by a single ruler supporting religious freedom, demonstrating the kingdom’s progressivism, humanity and virtuous rule. For this, the Cyrus Cylinder has come to symbolize a wide range of values for the Iranian, Iranian American, as well as the global community. A replica of the Cylinder lies in New York’s UN building, as a symbol of transnational and trans-historical dedication to universal human rights.


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