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"Tolerance" Sculptures in Houston by Jaume Plensa

I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).

"Tolerance" Sculptures on Harmony Walk by Jaume Plensa

"Tolerance" Sculptures on Harmony Walk by Jaume Plensa

Several years ago in Houston, Texas, we started noticing some interesting-looking sculptures located along Buffalo Bayou. They were adding to the public art displays in the city, and as we were driving by, I wanted to be able to photograph them and get a better look at them. I had no idea at the time that there was a meaningful message connected to these items of eye-catching beauty.

These metal sculptures made of aluminum appear to glint in the sunlight. They are skeletal in their design so that one can look through them to the natural scenery in which they reside. They have lights shining up inside them at night.

The location where these Tolerance Sculptures are on view at 2773 Allen Pkwy., Houston, Texas 77019.

"Tolerance" sculptures by Jaume Plensa glistening in the sunlight.

"Tolerance" sculptures by Jaume Plensa glistening in the sunlight.

Viewing the "Tolerance" Sculptures

One day my husband and I got to walk among these large imposing figures. They consist of seven aluminum-clad characters representing the seven continents. Each sculpture is ten feet in height and is mounted on rocks imported from Spain. Lettering from nine different alphabets comprises these beauties.

See the dedication plaque below.

Dedication plaque is mounted on one of those large rocks from Spain.

Dedication plaque is mounted on one of those large rocks from Spain.

Who Was David Ritcheson?

If you looked closely at the dedication plaque above, you would have noticed the name David Ritcheson. These sculptures are dedicated to him as well as all victims of hate crimes.

David was a young teenager of Mexican-American heritage who suffered a horrific hate crime. I remember the heinous details of that crime well. Several young men went to jail, and David endured more thanx thirty surgeries to repair the terrible bodily damage done to him.

From his wheelchair, he did muster up the courage to testify before Congress concerning the hopeful passage of a Hate Crimes Prevention Act. A few months later, he jumped from a cruise ship and committed suicide. He was only 18 years old.

Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one's own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others.

— John F. Kennedy

"Tolerance" Sculptures

"Tolerance" Sculptures

"Tolerance" is the name of these sculptures situated along Houston's Harmony Walk. They were dedicated on February 15, 2011, and have the following inscribed on a plaque:

Unity in Diversity

Reflecting the Pluralism & Harmony of Mankind

Seven Figures Representing the Seven Continents

Each Created from Nine Alphabets

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The video below shows the sculptures in all kinds of light, including illuminated at night.

Artist Jaume Plensa

Jaume Plensa is the world-renowned artist who created them. He was born in Barcelona, Spain, and is a well-known sculptor, teacher, and lecturer who has won many national and international awards.

His public sculptures grace many cities all across the globe. We are fortunate to have these seven fascinating and inspirational sculptures here in Houston.

I am from the Mediterranean area, I have to feel everything. I am a physical person, but I guess that things that you cannot touch and cannot see are also touchable and visible—light, poetry, music.

— Jaume Plensa

Closeup of the lettering used in the "Tolerance" sculptures.

Closeup of the lettering used in the "Tolerance" sculptures.

When we dream, anything is possible.

— Jaume Plensa

A Better Place

I like the idea of tolerance. The world, in my opinion, could use more of it. Perhaps we could learn to be kinder and more understanding of our fellow inhabitants of this small planet, which we all share.

These sculptures, once we understand their intended meaning, stand in testament to the hopes of a brighter future for all of us. You can see the dedication ceremony for the sculptures in the video below, along with the artist's statement.

Compassion and tolerance are not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.

— Dalai Lama

One thought fills an immensity.

— Jaume Plensa

As long as I have any choice in the matter, I shall live only in a country where civil liberty, tolerance and equality of all citizens before the law prevail.

— Albert Einstein

Sources:

  • Jaume Plensa | Official Website
    Official website of the artist Jaume Plensa (b. 1955, Barcelona, Spain). All images © Plensa Studio Barcelona. All rights reserved.
  • The Wages of a Hate Crime
    David Ritcheson's wounds finally seemed to be healing. After the Mexican-American teen was beaten nearly to death and sexually assaulted in 2006 by two young men yelling "white power" slogans, he

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Peggy Woods

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