27 August 2013

Bali - GWK start finishing the highest statue in Indonesia

Dramatic performances by the famous Kecak Rina troupe, guitar prodigy Dewa Budjana, singer Trie Utami, up-and-coming dancer Keni Kurniasari, harpist  Maya Hasan and hundreds of local residents marked the groundbreaking ceremony of the Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK) statue on Friday evening at Ungasan, Badung.

The performance was inspired by the Hindu tale of Garuda, an invincible bird of prey that searches for the elixir of immortality Amerta as a ransom to liberate its mother, who is being held captive by the dragons. Garuda defeats everything that stands in its path, from demons to gods, until Lord Wisnu the Sustainer offers it a deal that will see its mother released and also make sure the Amerta does not fall into the wrong hands. Garuda is given the role of the bearer of Amerta and agrees to be the mount of Lord Wisnu.

The ceremony marked a new chapter in the construction of the statue after a 16-year hiatus caused by a regime change, nationwide economic crisis, internal turf wars and lack of committed investors. The new beginning for the statue, designed to be Indonesia’s tallest monument and Bali’s new cultural icon, was made possible by giant property developer PT Alam Sutera Realty Tbk, which committed Rp 450 billion to finance the construction of the statue and other undisclosed funding to develop the cultural park and
integrated tourism facility in parts of the 60-hectare site of the monument.

The construction and installation of the GWK statue would take around three years to complete. The 75-meter-high statue, which is made of copper and brass sheeting, stainless steel framework and skeleton, is being constructed in the Sarijadi area, Bandung, West Java. The outer parts of the statue, some 22,000 square meters in size, and their stainless steel framework will be chopped into 700 modules before being transported to Bali. The modules will require 400 trucks to transport. In its final form, the GWK statue will be 75 meters tall with a wingspan of 64 meters. The statue will stand on a lofty pedestal that will bring the total height of the monument to 126 meters, some 30 meters taller than the Statue of Liberty in the US. It will weigh 3,000 tons and its volume will be 11 times more than that of the Statue of Liberty.

The Bali-born, Bandung-based Nyoman Nuarta first conceptualized the statue 25 years ago as a homage to his home island. The concept was supported by then minister of tourism, Joop Ave. A plan was drawn up and given to then-president Soeharto, who enthusiastically supported the project. In 1997 construction was started only to be stalled by the fall of Soeharto and a debilitating economic crisis.

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