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‘Border Dynamics’: One of UA’s massive public art collections

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Selena Quintanilla

The sculpture “Border Dynamics,” located in front of the Harvill building, is shown on Jan. 20. The sculpture has been on campus since 2003.

If you have ever had a class in the UA’s Harvill building, chances are you have encountered the sculpture located on the west side of the building.

This peculiar, yet beautiful, sculpture goes by the name “Border Dynamics,” and has stood at the UA since 2003. The work is by sculptors Guadalupe Serrano and Alberto Morackis. Consisting of four large figures pushing against an even larger wall, with two figures standing on each side. The work alludes to the border issues. This could represent a literal border or just a border in the sense of something that divides individuals.

The issue of borders may take on a different meaning to those in the Tucson area from in other parts of the world, but this sculpture can still speak to more than just that meaning.

The bodies of the figures appear covered in what almost looks like the meat of an animal. Some of the figures look like they want to hold the wall up, while others seem to want to knock it down, leaving viewers to decide what the figures actually mean.

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Either way, the piece starts a dialogue.

“Border Dynamics” belongs to the UA’s large body of public artwork, with many different pieces that each tell a story. These works can be found all over the UA campus.

“Public art is incredibly important everywhere but is especially fitting at a university. It both creates and reflects the use of a particular space, as well as its atmosphere and identity,” Kristen Schmidt, registrar at the UA Museum of Art, said. “You can use it for wayfinding, for meeting up, for shade, as a symbol, as a memorial. It is a physical and cultural landmark.”

Life can become pretty busy, especially during the college years, and as a result of this stressful time in an individual’s life it may become difficult for some to find the time to go visit an art gallery and experience art firsthand.

Public art spans across the UA campus, giving even those who would say that they never seek out works of art an opportunity to still experience it and connect to it, even if they do not know they have done so.

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“I feel that with the many public artworks around campus, everyone can find something that resonates with them, which makes the artwork unique to them,” said Courtney Helman, a law junior. “I think a lot of people just pass by pieces of art every day without thinking about their meaning or their value to society.”

The next time you find yourself stressed out of your mind at the Harvill building, take a little bit of time to experience “Border Dynamics” and find out for yourself what the piece means to you.

“Like a lot of other art, public art can challenge you and your assumptions about your own place in the world. It can also inspire you,” Schmidt said.

Editors note: Courtney Helman is a former employee of the Daily Wildcat who left the paper in the early part of the fall 2016 semester.


Follow Alec Kuehnle on Twitter.


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