The Gift - Le coeur du Grand Nancy

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Date: 2003
Ref: 0366
Materials: Bronze, gold leaf
Dimensions: 4 m high
Catalogued: Lucy + Jorge Orta: Pattern Book, an introduction to collaborative practices, Black Dog Publishing, London, 2009
Courtesy: Collection Métropole du Grand Nancy, France

In the Place de la République in Nancy stands, "The Gift - Le coeur du Grand Nancy", a striking public sculpture as a memorial to an awareness campaign coordinated by Jorge Orta to open the debate of the challenges of organ donation. It marks the collective efforts of the community of Meurthe-et-Moselle who took part in a regional program of activities, which culminated in the writting of an organ donation charter, the Universal code of ethics for organ donation.

Standing four meters high, over sixty bronze hearts are positioned on a pedestal inscribed with oral testimonies collected during workshops in high schools across the region. At the pinicle is a single gold heart in which is enclosed the original charter that represents responses from 30,000 residents.

“The mobilization of young people and their families encourages a greater awareness of the concept of organ donation and how to act against the shortage of donations across France. The literal and figurative texts expressed by the families across Nancy for the universal code of ethics will be inscribed forever onto the pedestal of this public sculpture. This is a wonderful gift to us all.” Jorge Orta

Lucy + Jorge Orta began the project The Gift (1996-2004) after a dear friend died a senseless death on a waiting list for a heart transplant. When they discovered that thousands more deaths were occuring every year in France due to the lack of organ donations, they embarked on ten-years of research, collaborating with of doctors, medical scientists, and donor organisations in over 40 cities around the world. Collaborative workshops, involving the making of hearts in a range of materials was a primary methods applied to encourage open-ended discussions on the meaning of the heart in peoples lives. The heart has become an enduring symbol of the gift of  life, generosity, empathy and love.

"The Gift - Le coeur du Grand Nancy" was commissioned by the Métropole du Grand Nancy to celebrate the World Transplant Games held in Nancy in 2003.