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 in Badung, Bali.
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 (ASR), which committed Rp 450 billion (US$40,000,000) 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 groundbreaking ceremony took place at precisely 5:50 p.m. when Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika, billionaire The Ning King, who is the founder of Argo Manunggal Group — the parent company of ASR, Badung Regent, Anak Agung Gde Agung and sculptor Nyoman Nuarta placed their right hands over each others’ and pushed the button that sounded a siren. As the siren wailed, five mixer trucks poured tons of concrete into a large rectangular opening on the designated site of the statue’s pedestal.
“Of course I am very happy to see the statue getting closer to completion. More so because I finally will be able to keep my promise to the Balinese people,” famed sculptor Nyoman Nuarta said.
The “new” GWK statue will be constructed on a site 300 meters to the south of the existing 20-meter-tall bust of Wisnu, which, alongside the head and several minor parts of the mythical bird Garuda, were constructed and installed by Nuarta during the difficult period of the monument.
Nuarta estimated that 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 Nuarta’s workshop 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.
“Here the modules will be welded together before being mounted on the pedestal and supported by the core column made of steel and concrete. The pedestal and core column will be constructed by other companies,” he said.
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 greater than that of the Statue of Liberty.
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