Professor urges students not to overlook sculptures around campus
Inspired by the Border Dynamics sculpture outside of the Harvill building, one UA professor has encouraged students to take notice of the often overlooked artwork.
“We have a treasure of art on campus,” said Patrick Baliani, an associate professor in the Honors College.
Baliani and the Honors College will be presenting “The Wall,” at 4 p.m. on Thursday next to the Border Dynamics statue to commemorate diversity in the campus community. The event, which was inspired by Guadalupe Serrano and Alberto Morackis’ work of art, depicts four people, two on each side, leaning and pushing against a rustic wall, with neither end showing signs of progress.
Originally situated at the Mexican Border in 2002, Border Dynamics was moved to the UA in 2003.
“To me it means that we have to work together,” Baliani said. “First to realize what our problems are, and then to try and overcome them. I’m very much affected by the way that the sun operates on the sculpture … the sun creates these shadows, and the shadows are of all of us. So if we all come together, we can all kind of understand where our shadows lie and realize the sun is for all of us.”
Curious of other interpretations, Baliani assigned students to write a narrative on the sculpture’s meaning earlier in the year, several of which will be shared Thursday.
“Well, the sculpture is open to interpretation,” Baliani said. “It kind of represents about as broad a spectrum because it’s very abstract.”
Ashley Jeffs, a sophomore studying pre-physiology and creative writing, whose narrative of the sculpture helped her win Honors College Freshman of the Year, will be sharing her account Thursday. Additionally, others are encouraged to share their viewpoints of the sculpture because of the interactive nature of the event.
“If this has to do with immigration, I feel like it has to do with how beat up they are,” said Nayriah Bosley, a junior majoring in communication and history. “Like what they’re going through.”
Bosley added that art on campus is often taken for granted, and like many other students, she rarely stops to enjoy it.
“The beauty of art is that the interpretation is in the eye of the beholder,” said Roy Harris, a business management senior. “People look at it, they have their own ideas of how it resonates with them and most people can’t say that it’s wrong.”
Harris said he interprets the sculpture as a representation of a societal fight over ideals, but shares Bosley’s opinion that students overlook campus art.
“A lot of people don’t worry about things that may not affect them directly,” Harris said. “They say, ‘well, as long as it has nothing to do with me I’m OK with it. If it begins to affect me then I have a problem with it,’ which I believe is a bunch of crap.”
Baliani hopes that Thursday’s event will lead students to understand current issues, as well as appreciate campus art.
“I pass by these things all the time, and if I didn’t stop I would probably miss so much, and we all miss a lot,” Baliani said. “ So I would just hope that people have a deeper understanding of what it is, and then given that, that we realize more about the complexity of the issue.”