Mbaye, expected to be the largest and certainly one of the most striking statues is on display during a 60-day art exhibition at Sunset Mall, Jumeirah 3 from August 18, 2021. The gigantic lioness head and feet, centrepiece of the African-themed mega sculpture is designed and built in Dubai.

The entire project has so far taken seven years of design, engineering, and fabrication. Expected to tower at 13m high and weigh a colossal 120 tonne upon completion, Mbaye the Lioness is aptly named after Captain Mbaye Diagne, the slain UN peacekeeping soldier who was killed during the 1994 Rwandan genocide while he was protecting innocent civilians.

According to Inox Arabia, the creators of the one-of-a-kind art exhibition, Mbaye the Lioness is a commemoration of the selfless act of caring demonstrated by the fallen soldier.

“We are delighted and honoured to unveil the ongoing sculpting of Mbaye the Lioness – a work of art that epitomises the love and care that Captain Mbaye Diagne showed to thousands of innocent people that were caught up in the tribal war. The objective of this unique art showcase is to inspire people not only in the UAE, but all over the world to care for others regardless of where they come from,” said Lawton Loraine, the chief artist and creator.

The meticulously carved feet of Mbaye the Lioness are crafted using specially imported marble from Carrara, Italy and mined from a quarry in the Tuscan mountains (the same that was used by Michelangelo), while the giant head is made using 2 tonnes of stainless steel and a type of jade – Aventurine (a rare quartz stone from Brazil) – for its green eyes and Obsidian. These stones are revered in mythology for luck and healing properties.

To show solidarity with people of all nationalities and races, Mbaye the Lioness is being built by people from all over the world including the Philippines, Bangladesh, India, Nigeria, Cameroon, Kenya, China, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the UAE.