Commemorating “Los 33”

Chinese sculpture unveiled in honor of Chilean miners

The massive statue is currently en route to Chile and will be presented at an official ceremony on the first anniversary of the mining rescue.

Friday, August 19, 2011  
A model of the 20-ton, 40-foot sculpture representing the 'Goddess of Peace'.  A model of the 20-ton, 40-foot sculpture representing the 'Goddess of Peace'.

A sculpture has been unveiled in Beijing to commemorate the epic story of the 33 Chilean miners who were trapped underground near the northern city of Copiapó for more than two months last year.

The 20-ton, 40-foot tall statue was commissioned by the Statue of World Peace Foundation, a private non-profit Chinese organization, and will be presented as a gift to the municipality of Copiapó.

The statue will be installed in a public square near the entrance to the city where it will be officially presented on October 13, the first anniversary of the dramatic rescue that drew global attention.

Mayor Maglio Cicardini of Copiapó and the Latin American director of the Statue of World Peace Foundation, Marcelo Pizarro, attended the official unveiling ceremony at the Chilean Embassy in Beijing.

“We are happy that the Chinese people have recognized the courage, strength and nobility of the Chilean miners behind this moving story,” Mayor Cicardini told El Mercurio. “[This gesture] will remain in the hearts of all Chileans.”

Constructed by Chinese sculptor Yao Yuan, the massive sculpture represents the mythical “Goddess of Peace”.

“Nobody remembers who was the sculptor behind the Statue of Liberty but it has become an enduring symbol of the United States,” Yuan told El Mercurio. “In the future, nobody will remember who sculpted the work we are presenting today but it will come to be known as a symbol of peace.”

The sculpture will arrive in the Chilean port city of Iquique on Sept. 22, where it will be officially received with a public ceremony, before making the overland trip to its final destination.

The Statue of World Peace Foundation has also committed to providing educational scholarships to the children of the 33 miners along with a broader economic assistance package for students in Chile's northern region.

The “Goddess of Peace” is the second of 12 sculptures that the foundation plans to erect around the world in honor of famous historical events. The first sculpture has already been installed in the French region of Normandy commemorating the World War II event known as “D-Day,” when Allied troops landed on the beach June 7, 1944.

The city of Copiapó also has plans to erect a giant monument in honor of the 33 rescued miners.