Olafur Eliasson was inspired by the story of Cambodian immunization teams who challenged common practice and “found” families living in the middle of the vast Tonle Sap Lake. It was a critical discovery that would lead to the end of polio in the country. In 1997, there was a view that no one lived on the huge freshwater lake. But against protocol, a World Health Organization team hired a plane to fly over the lake and have a look, and discovered hundreds of people living in a floating village at the center. As a result, health teams traveled in boats to meet the communities and offer vaccines to the children. This helped stop polio in Cambodia, and the same strategy has been used ever since to bring vaccines and other health services to the community. Olafur contributed this sculpture to the project. It symbolizes a changeable world - that abstract thinking moves people to see the world from different perspectives, offering new possibilities.
“Feelings are facts. As an artist, I know that creativity can touch feelings and feelings can motivate change.”
Olafur Eliasson’s diverse works – in sculpture, painting, photography, film, and installations – are driven by his interests in perception, movement, embodied experience, and feelings of self. He strives to make the concerns of art relevant to society at large. Art, for him, is a crucial means for turning thinking into doing in the world. Olafur’s work has been exhibited in major galleries, museums and public spaces around the world. Read more about Olafur Eliasson.