Sunday, 8 March 2009

Public Sculpture For UWI

Fellow Trinidadian artist, Dean Arlen, is the visionary behind the Public Sculpture Project at the St. Augustine, Trinidad campus of the University of the West Indies. These are some ideas and sketches that I had for the project. I was working from the starting point of the nautilus shell. This shell increases in size as it spirals outward following the mathematical formula, the Fibonacci Sequence.

Spiralling out towards strength, unity and integrity. One meaning of the word spiral is a gradual but continuous rise (or fall). In their vision and mission statement, the University of the West Indies sees itself as becoming central in bringing about Caribbean unity and influencing economic, social, cultural and political development in the region. I am proposing a pair of wall mounted, nautilus inspired, wire sculptures that will be situated in the entrance of the Learning Resourse Centre. I see the Learning Resource Centre as a place where students, lecturers, visiting lecturers, alumni and the population at large meet to discuss and exchange new ideas. The birth of this kind of influence happens here.

The form of the twin sculptures is inspired by the shell of the species known as the pearly nautilus. The rate at which the proportions of its shell increases has inspired the Fibonacci sequence, a mathematical sequence in which each number is the sum of the previous 2 numbers. The numbers increase at a ratio of 1 : 1.618… This ratio or proportion is thought to be very pleasing to the eye and it inspired the compositional structure of some of the paintings and architecture during the Renaissance Period of Art.

I see the wire Nautilus as a symbol of growing and unifying influence of the university on the wider Caribbean community.
The mirrors represent the people who have a direct relationship with the university; the students, lecturers, alumni and visiting lecturers. This influence, like the spiral, starts small. At the centre of the spiral, there is a cluster of these mirrors as these people contribute to the growth of the spiral. As the spiral increases, the mirrors decrease in numbers but increase in size. In some areas, the mirrors are replaced by leaf or flower forms in sheet metal. These leaves and flowers represent growth and fertility and refer to the positive ideas and contributions of the University on the minds of Caribbean youth and the Caribbean community in general.

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