The 40th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is now held in Geneva. However, this article is not about human rights. This is about art. You may have noticed the ceiling of the conference hall in which the council meets.

It was formerly known simply as Room XX. In 2008, it was refurbished and now it is known as the Human Rights and Alliance of Civilisations Chamber. It is about the ceiling of this building I am going to write. You may have noticed its stunning beauty.

The ceiling creates the feeling of a cave with multi-colour stalactites. They look different in colour and shapes according to the place the viewer sits. Stalactites are tapering structures hanging from the roof of some caves. They are formed of calcium salts deposited by dripping water.

Marcelo working (Picture credit of Miquel Barcelo to: EPA – adapted from The Telegraph)

Who created this massive artwork? He is Miquel Barcelo, one of Spain’s leading contemporary artists. He worked on the project for two years with 20 assistants, using 35,000 kilos of paint.

At the opening of this dome, he described his work of art as one inspired by one hot day in the Sahel region of Africa.

“I remember with the vividness of a mirage the image of the world dripping toward the sky,” he said. “Trees, dunes, donkeys, multicolored beings… trickling drop by drop. And being consumed.”

The cost for the production of the artwork was reported to be 20 million euros ($25.25 million). The expenses caused controversy because of allegations that aid money had been used for the work.

Marcelo working (Picture credit of Miquel Barcelo to: EPA – adapted from The Telegraph)

(Cover photo credit to: FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)

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