UAE royalty and dignitaries gathered in Abu Dhabi for the unveiling of The Founder’s Memorial, a permanent tribute commemorating the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
The inauguration, through the unveiling of The Constellation, the monumental artwork that forms its centrepiece, coincides with the national Year of Zayed initiative, declared by HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, to mark 100 years since the birth of Sheikh Zayed.
Located at the heart of The Founder’s Memorial, the monumental artwork by public artist Ralph Helmick depicts a dynamic three-dimensional portrait of Sheikh Zayed, and can be experienced differently from multiple viewing points around the memorial and from other vantage points, offering a series of infinitely evolving personal encounters with his image.
The Constellation is made up of more than 1,300 geometric shapes suspended on more than 1,000 cables. At night, these shapes shine like stars, evoking the timelessness of Sheikh Zayed’s vision as a guiding light for the UAE people.
The ceremony took place in the presence of members of the UAE’s royal families, ministers, dignitaries and VIPs, who gathered at the site on the intersection of 1st and 2nd Street on the Abu Dhabi Corniche.
It included a performance featuring a 40-strong choir performing Allah Ya Dar Zayed, as well as beautiful new arrangements of other traditional songs and music, and a touching compilation of Sheikh Zayed's performances of the traditional Ayala dance.
HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said the legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed would remain in the hearts and minds of the sons of this nation.
He said: “The Founder’s Memorial will continue to testify to the achievements of the founding leader and the sacrifices he made.”
“His legacy is filled with stories of loyalty to the homeland, and it places a responsibility on us and on future generations to safeguard the gains, and build on the success stories so that our homeland remains a symbol of dignity and development.”
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, said the Founder’s Memorial would help people understand how the happiness of his countrymen was Sheikh Zayed’s only goal.
He said: “He instilled the values of hard work, giving and dedication in his people, inspiring them to take the country to new heights under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.”
“We proudly unveil the Founder’s Memorial to celebrate Sheikh Zayed’s legacy and achievements.”
The Rulers of the UAE also expressed great pride in the national, humanitarian and civilisational legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed.