The Giant Dream
The new statue depicting the Hindu God, Wisnu, hopes to serve as Indonesia’s main landmark
One of the largest statues in the world is finally taking shape on a hill overlooking the international Bali airport, ready to dominate the landscape. It will be officially inaugurated on August 28, 2018, the day in which it will be open the IMF Bank event.
The figure represents the God, Wisnu, riding the mythical bird, Garuda, which is a source of wisdom and preservation in the Hindu religion, a religion practiced in Indonesia millennia ago, before the advent of Islam.
In order to complete the enormous copper and brass sculpture, the project required more than 20 years of work. Moreover, it fundraised more than $100 million from private benefactors.The statue, which stands 121 meters tall, is 30 meters taller than the Statue of Liberty in New York. However, Garuda is almost as wide as it is tall, with a 64-meter wingspan, and a total weight of 3,000 tons. The shape is so complex that engineers have designed special joints for the support structure, with up to 11 huge steel beams joining at the same point. The normal construction joints have four or six beams.
The impressive structure was designed and constructed by an important Indonesian sculptor named Nyoman Nuarta, who conceived this majestic creation together with the Former Minister of Tourism, Post and Telecommunications Joop Ave in 1997, with the idea of materializing a cultural masterpiece, memorable and indissoluble value over the centuries, which hopes to become the iconic landmark of Indonesia. For this reason, Nyoman wanted to commit himself freely to this visionary plan with the intention of making a gift to his native land, Bali.
The sculptor has involved hundreds of collaborators who, together with him on the island of Java, in Bandung, have developed the project. They made 724 modules in wax, then in fiberglass, copper and brass, respectively. Afterwards, the pieces were cut and transported by a truck to Bali for the final installation, where the elements were recomposed and welded by hand.
One of the parts that make this statue spectacular are the custom Sicis mosaic decorations, seen on the majestic headgear of the God, the necklace that adorns him and the two shoulder pads.
Sicis, an Italian company specializing in mosaic production, supplied the unique mosaic tesserae in gold and glass. Installers invested more than 2,000 hours to hand-lay tesserae after tesserae, following the irregularities of the sculpture. The mosaic outstandingly enhances the face of the divinity, giving light and preciousness to the entire artistic product.
The project is very important for Indonesia, said one of the project’s designers. "Culture is a big part of our country, for our civilization," she said. "With culture all of us can be equal. Our goal is to build something great for our children and grandchildren, for our generation and for the world."
Photos courtesy of Sicis
Garuda Wisnu statue
Designer/Sculptor: Nyoman Nuarta, Bali, Indonesia