Outside art gives campus grounds a new dimension

Allison Declercq-Matthäs, Contributor Ω

Sleeping Giant by Denise Joe and Oldowan Kenobi by Luke McLaughlin rest on a knoll by the House of Learning. - PHOTO BY ALLISON DECLERQ-MATTHAS

Sleeping Giant by Denise Joe and Oldowan Kenobi by Luke McLaughlin rest on a knoll by the House of Learning. – PHOTO BY ALLISON DECLERQ-MATTHAS

With the sun out, students have been leisurely basking in its rays and cavorting around the grass in play. Amongst their activities a number of odd structures sat without movement.

A sleeping giant rests on a knoll in the Campus Commons among the sunbathers. A sundial utilized the light by the International Building. An Easter Island style head gaped at passing students. A series of constructed stones circled a monolith within the traffic circle.

A number of other works lay across campus; these are all part of a 3-D sculpting class by professor Donald Lawrence.

“We did an in-class workshop on solar phenomena,” Lawrence said. He used examples of ancient works and contemporary pieces to inspire the class to create large works for the outdoors. Called the Henge Project, Lawrence’s 20 students split into smaller groups of various sizes to complete the task.

“There were four students working on the bus loop traffic circle project,” Lawrence said. “Two worked on the sleeping giant.”

Once he let the Thompson Rivers University facilities know about the project, Lawrence set it in motion.

A number of the projects were advertised in posters under the name Orion Project. They chose to collaborate with other groups to form a larger piece in the formation of Orion’s Belt from the constellation Orion.

Disaster struck soon after the pieces were placed outside. A short burst of rain, hail and wind tore down a number of the projects and damaged works made from water-susceptible materials.

“We fluked out with our tarp idea,” said Luke McLaughlin, a first-year arts student in the class. He and another student, Denise Joe, created the works resting on the knoll by the House of Learning out of tent tarps. He created the balanced spearhead standing over the giant. Dubbed Oldowan Kenobi, the piece was originally meant to be on grander scale with ten spearheads set in an astronomical formation. Time and material scaled the work back.

“If I do this again next 3-D class I’ll know enough to make them strong enough,” McLaughlin said. “I like the scale. You never see them that big.”

McLaughlin helped Joe finish her Sleeping Giant when she hurt her finger and couldn’t manipulate the material. She used $4 worth of material towards the piece.

“Everyone seems to go over to it and jiggle it to see if it moves,” said Joe. “I know it makes people think.”

Joe’s giant was a very personal project. She related the sleeping giant to a huge spirit within herself waiting to come out. The project was also about her ancestors resting but guiding the future. Joe and McLaughlin kept this in mind as they positioned the pieces.

“We didn’t want to put it in a dark space,” said Joe. “Because it’s a spiritual thing as well.”

Elysha Trigg, part of the second round of projects that went up, diverged from the class’s theme with a stocky human-shaped being standing before Old Main. She said the work would not have worked well in an indoor setting.

“The wires in the body are manmade and the ribs inside, the core, are natural materials,” said Trigg. “A nature core and the outside artificial material, signifying we are born of nature and nature is of us.”