A sculpture recognizing Saudi Arabia’s place at the G20 Summit is exciting some comment after it was erected on the World Trade Center grounds last week, a stone’s throw from the 9/11 memorial.
And perhaps it’s not difficult to see why it might.
The sculpture resembles the flag Saudi Arabia and includes the Shahada or Islamic creed in Arabic, “There is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is the prophet.”
It is one of twenty sculptures recognizing the different G20 nations, all designed as candy, in an exhibit called “Candy Nations.”
“I first created flag candy sculptures to celebrate mankind on an international level and pay tribute to People of the entire world,” Jenkell told Observer in a statement. “Given the unique and justified sensitivities surrounding the World Trade Center, it came to my mind to propose to remove the sculpture showcasing the flag of Saudi Arabia, or relocate it to a less sensitive location. But there is no way I can do such a thing as the flag of Saudi Arabia is entirely part of the G20 just like any other candy flag of this Candy Nations show.”
So Jenkell thought about it but then decided, oh, well, do it anyway.
The Port Authority installed the sculpture and didn’t really seem to address the concern in their statement on the exhibit.
Although the installation was originally created in 2011 to convey “an optimistic message of unity beneath external differences,” its placement at the World Trade Center raises questions given longstanding accusations directed toward Saudi Arabia in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. In 2003, hundreds of families affected by the 9/11 terror attacks sued the Kingdom over its alleged involvement in harboring terrorism—given that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi.
Last March, a U.S. federal judge rejected Saudi Arabia’s motion to drop the charges.