Monday, 13 July 2015

Demonstrating a Little Bit of Tolerance at La Cite, Carcassonne

If you visit La Cite before the 20th of September you will be able to see a series of sculptures by the artist Guy Ferrer. Each sculpture is a letter of the word 'TOLERANCE' and they all stand around 2m high.

They are located in front of the main entrance under the watchful eye of Dame Carcas, a permanent sculpture of a Saracen princess who is once said to have ruled the city after the death of her husband. Many people believe the name of Carcassonne came about when a ruse involving a pig fed with wheat was thrown from the castle walls during a siege under the orders of Lady Carcas. This was to convince Charlemagne that the castle had plenty of food and could withstand the siege indefinitely. The ruse worked Charlemagne left and the bells rang out in celebration. Giving the city its name Carcassonne (Carcas sounds). Or at least that is how the legend goes, there are some that say this is completely fictional of course, so who knows? But it is a nice story.

So what of the temporary sculptures? They have been placed on display to represent how different letters brought together can form a word with a simple message, even though the individual letters may represent different cultures or spirituality. The message being that different cultures and religions can co-exist in peace and harmony, despite the presence of ever increasing violence in a world that is facing a serious challenge through misguided racial tensions.

The sculptures have been created to try and bring about convergence of different cultures and spirituality rather than the divergence sought by extremists. The artist intends you to draw your own conclusions through your own imagination by examining the individual letters that make the word and how they sit together to deliver a message that tolerance is required by all parties for the world to progress. Well that's my take on it and what I think he is saying. 

But of course you can go along and make up your own mind, because at the end of the day that is what we all do and sometimes we are right and sometimes we are wrong!

The sculptures are pretty impressive in their own right and worth a look just from the perspective of seeing the skill that has gone into their production, but the spiritual aspect certainly does add another layer of interest and delivers a message we should all perhaps be receptive to. 

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