A few years ago, the city of Vienna became a member of the Human Rights Cities Network and joined the prestigious city alliance that bases its policies, statements and programs on International Human Rights norms and standards.
The Vienna Human Rights Banquet and its guardians is a strong and manifest Viennese human rights symbol on the Platz der Menschenrechte (Human Rights Square), which raises public awareness about fundamental human rights issues and creates a space for negotiation, exchange, and dialogue. It is an artwork whose aesthetic reaches its audience emotionally but it is also a tool for education, understanding and communication.
The 10-meter-long banquet table is covered with ceramic tiles, on which, each handmade plate features one of the 30 articles of the 1949 Universal Declaration of Human Rights in English and German. The table is set for a grand banquet for 64 guests for whom the Human Rights are mental food.
The center of the banquet table is dedicated to a cartography of the Danube, which embeds quotes of philosophers and writers from antiquity to nowadays. Along the river, the names of all current “Human Rights Cities” illustrate and strengthen the concept of an international network, with Vienna as the center. The river map is a metaphor for the permanent flow of ideas, goods, and people, and traces the long and diverse history of Human Rights thought.
At the Vienna Banquet for Human Rights, everybody is welcome and invited to sit down and explore Human Rights articles, quotes and the river. As they begin to reflect on their rights and role in advocating, defending and granting these rights, the table achieves its greatest ambition: remind us that, we the people, are the guardians of Human Rights and must constantly cherish and fight for them.
Nils Lebot, architect
Miriam Heipertz, Human Rights’ history specialist
Barbara Reiter, philosopher
Kör, Public Art in Vienna
Shams Asadi, Vienna Human Right Commission
PARTNERS AND SPONSORS
Municipality of Vienna
PROJECT LED BY
Kör- Barbara Horvath