Just before the 2016 Summer Olympics held its opening ceremony at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracanã Stadium earlier this month, an entirely different celebration occurred 60 miles away. On August 3rd at Cunhambebe State Park, acclaimed Japanese artist Mariko Mori unveiled Ring: One With Nature, an enormous illuminated ring installed on top of the 190' tall Véu da Noiva waterfall.
The 10' in diameter acrylic ring, produced in collaboration with the Faou Foundation, effectively functions as an additional ring to accompany the five iconic Olympic ones, which in themselves represent Africa, Asia, America, Europe, and Australia. This sixth ring signifies “peace, light, and purity” and is meant as “a unifying symbol of humanity and nature,” according to the artist, a crucial message of harmony in times of creeping global turmoil.
Although Mori had been planning this installation for years, after a ring on top of a waterfall appeared to her in a dream, the artist ran into last-minute site-specific trouble and was forced to find a new location. “Due to the change of the site in early April, the environmental permission was not available until mid July, and we also had to modify the structural engineering after a hydrological study,” Mori tells The Creators Project. “We were able to install the Ring on the top of the waterfall for the opening but the construction is not yet completed.”
Despite the incomplete construction, Ring: One with Nature is already open to the public and was marked with performances at the waterfall on the opening day. Mori dressed up in an all-white garb and performed Oneness, which involved “the purification of 108 beads with the water from the waterfall,” which were then distributed to attendees to “symbolize our connection as one,” in Mori’s own words. Brazilian singer Virginia Rodrigues and guitarist Bernardo Bosisio also played music during the opening reception.
Ring: One With Nature is planned as a permanent installation at the Véu da Noiva waterfall at Cunhambe State Park, near the city of Mangaratiba in Brazil. So long as it remains erect and shines brightly over the waterfall, its message of human solidarity and harmony will ring clear.