5 Things to Know About ‘The Constellation’

Here are some exciting facts about The Constellation at The Founders Memorial, Abu Dhabi.

The Founder’s Memorial, a permanent national tribute to the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, was officially inaugurated in Abu Dhabi to coincide with the national and international Year of Zayed initiative.

The centerpiece of the memorial is The Constellation, a monumental public artwork that honors Sheikh Zayed’s enduring legacy.

Located at the intersection of first and second street along the Abu Dhabi Corniche, The Founder’s Memorial opened to the public in Spring 2018 and here are some exciting facts about it.

The Constellation is one of the largest art installations of its kind

Housed within a monumental pavilion 30x30x30m in size, the artwork is formed by a combination of shapes suspended in space that create a series of evolving personal encounters with Sheikh Zayed’s image. The Constellation is unique in its use of abstract portraiture on this scale.

More than 1,300 geometric shapes make up The Constellation

The artwork consists of a total of 1,327 geometric shapes suspended from 1,110 cables. These constitute five different types of regular, convex polyhedrons known as ‘platonic solids’, shapes which are renowned for their mathematical beauty and symmetry

The Constellation weighs more than 250 tons

The artwork weighs 250 tons, while the steel structure of the roof supporting it weighs 190 tons. More than 5,745 counterweights hold the suspended shapes in place, which form a series of profiles of Sheikh Zayed when viewed from different perspectives both within the memorial’s landscape and from outside along the Corniche.

The Constellation celebrates Sheikh Zayed as a guiding star for the UAE

Illuminated by more than 2,000 lights, the suspended shapes of The Constellation shine like stars at night. This celestial display evokes the timelessness of Sheikh Zayed’s vision, which continues to offer the UAE nation a guiding light along a path of progress and prosperity.

Ralph Helmick created the artwork

The artwork was conceptualized and designed by public artist Ralph Helmick, whose practice explores human perception through large-scale public sculptures and installations that invite optical discovery.

When conceptualizing the artwork, Ralph let Sheikh Zayed’s legacy guide the design in terms of both scope and endurance, in order to engage a real connection with the man and the leader.


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