Iconic ‘LOVE HATE’ Sculpture on Display in Downtown D.C. (photos)


“The love of one’s country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border? There is a brotherhood among all men. This must be recognized if life is to remain. We must learn the love of man.” Pablo Casals.

Mia Florentine Weiss’s ambigram sculpture LOVE HATE is now on display in Farragut Square in Washington, D.C., just a few blocks north of the White House. After extensive travel through Europe, the 1.5 ton metal sculpture, in two pieces, has made its way across the Atlantic to “stimulate social dialogue and promote peace.”

An ambigram is a calligraphic design that when flipped over either remains unchanged, or mutates to reveal another meaning. In LOVE HATE, each of the two words carries the opposite meaning when looked at from behind. “Love” as written becomes “Hate” and vice versa.

On Nov. 9, Weiss was on hand for a ribbon cutting ceremony hosted jointly by the Delegation of the European Union and the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District under special arrangement with the National Park Service. The date of the unveiling bears special significance to the German sculptor, as it was the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 when citizens of the German Democratic Republic (aka East Germany) were suddenly and dramatically allowed to cross the country’s boarders, symbolically ending the Cold War.

The ceremony kicked off with remarks by EU Ambassador Stavros Lambrinidis, German Ambassador Emily Haber and Leona Agouridis of Golden Triangle BID, followed by an exclusive interview with the artist by social sculptor, Philippa Hughes. Guests were then invited to write their own messages for love and peace on magnetic film strips to be placed upon the iron sculpture.

Other notables in attendance were former U.S. Ambassador to Germany and Chairman of the American Council on Germany John B. Emerson and his wife, human rights advocate Kimberly Marteau Emerson. Their twin daughters Taylor and Hayley Emerson provided a musical backdrop with their original composition, “Love is So Much More.” Sitting next to Ambassador Emerson was Wonder Woman actress Lynda Carter. German Ambassador Emily Haber, German politician Sawsan Chebli, and Sigmar Gabriel, Former Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany, rounded out the list of VIPs.

The sculpture will remain in Washington until early March when it will then travel to Austin, Texas, in time for the South by Southwest music festival. It will then make appearances at various German consulates around the country.

For EU Ambassador Lambrinidis, the sculpture “couldn’t describe Europe in any better way,” he said. The European Union was created out of the ashes of the Second World War, “when we hated each other, were killing each other, and we managed in a few decades to create the most prosperous, peaceful and advanced region in the world…  We would never allow our continent to be a center of hatred. We would turn a labor of hate into a labor of love and that’s the European Union…. Knocking down the borders [and creating] unity in our remarkable diversity — that is the power of the European Union” which can also be a model for the rest of the world. As the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) is taking place right now in Glasgow, Scotland, he continued, “we have to turn the hate for this planet into the love for this planet … there is still time. Democracies need constant nurturing by promoting the building blocks of love — human dignity and equality, women’s rights and children’s rights.  We must remember that our democracies are fragile “because hate kills democracy… you need individual citizens to be informed, to talk to people you disagree with to build tolerance [and understanding].”

Lambrinidis ended his remarks by quoting Nelson Mandela who once said, after observing infants of different races playing with one another, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love.”

“We hope that this amazing sculpture by Mia will help us all learn how to love, “Lambrinidis concluded.

View a slideshow of Jeff Malet’s photos from the unveiling of Mia Florentine Weiss’s sculpture LOVE HATE on Farragut Square in Washington, D.C., by clicking on the photo icons below.

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