The thing about public art, is that it’s best seen and not climbed.

This is a principle well-adhered to when the only potential ascendents are UN diplomats. All that changes when you invite the public in.


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So I suppose that makes this semi-public art, nicely positioned throughout the wonderful park surrounding the Palais des Nations – the UN’s headquarters in Geneva. And when you add lots of children, the inevitable happens.

The famous bronze globe becomes an irrisistable impromptu jungle gym; a statue of a reclining man a toddler clambering playground toy.

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Add to this a free frisbee giveaway and the result is an intense workout for the UN security guards. I chill on the lawn in the late afternoon sunshine watching the blue uniforms rush to and fro like sheepdogs: evicting perched children and blowing their whistles to round up errant frisbee throwers from the lower grounds.

Behind me is the most interesting children’s art project. The theme is peace, of course. A child from or representing each country has painted a painting and some interpretations differ wildly.

There are doves that have a distinctly chickenlike appearance, the uncharacteristicly patriotic “Let’s go Canada. Just fly Montreal” contribution, a provocative “Jerusalem is the capital of Israel forever” and my personal favourite: “We love the world and chocolate boys” (the Soloman Islands, in case you’re wondering).

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