Cecil Balmond to design sculpture honoring Persian emperor Cyrus the Great in Los Angeles

Architecture Art West
Cecil Balmond's winning sculpture honoring Cyrus the Great. (Courtesy Farhang Foundation)

Cecil Balmond’s winning sculpture honoring Cyrus the Great. (Courtesy Farhang Foundation)

Soon a Cecil Balmond sculpture will grace Santa Monica Boulevard. The Farhang Foundation announced that the British hyphenate—artist-architect-engineer—is the winner of Freedom: A Shared Dream, an international art competition to create a urban art/sculptural landmark in honor of the ideals of Persian emperor Cyrus the Great who, according to the foundation, “championed the principles of religious diversity and personal freedom for all.”

The competition drew 300 submissions from around the world. The panel of jurors for this competition included Kamran Diba of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, Farhang Foundation trustee Shazad Ghanbari, LACMA’s Linda Komaroff, curator and Sotherby’s VP Scott Jay Schaefer, and Bennett Simpson of MOCA.

An animation shows a highly articulated metal cylinder mounted aloft curved supports sitting on a median strip. Internal lighting makes the artwork glow at night. “The Cyrus Cylinder is Talismanic of a great vision for all peoples—and I hope my design is an artwork which projects the cylinder’s deep values, not only to L.A. but also to the world,” said Balmond in the Farhang Foundation’s press release.

The final sculpture will be unveiled at an official ceremony in 2017. Construction costs are unknown. The foundation is working closely with the City of Los Angeles. When finished, the sculpture will be to the city by Farhang Foundation on behalf of the Iranian-American community.

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