On December 18, 2020, the Selection Committee elevated four finalists from the international ideas competition, "Understanding Our Complicated Past and Reconnecting with Our Layered Histories." Learn more about the proposed works for commissioning on Virginia Tech's Blacksburg campus.
Floyd County, Virginia’s Charlie Brouwer offers a sculptural installation titled Think on These Things. His proposal consists of seven benches in a 25-foot diameter circle with a young oak tree planted in the center.
Four life-sized human figure sculptures, a female; a male; and two children scatter around the circle, seated in contemplative and meditative poses. The sculptures would be constructed of locust wood, each colored in a shade of gray from nearly white to nearly black.
Empty spaces on the benches invite visitors to sit and join the figures in contemplating words carved into the benches such as “Indigenous, slavery, diversity, equality, education, history, knowledge”. Additional words, “kindness, compassion, honesty, dignity, bravery, clarity, empathy” carved into stones set in the ground inside the circle suggest ways of thinking about these things.
Carrie Gault’s proposal creates a series of simple thresholds; a silhouette she hopes will evoke “feelings of domesticity and ask the viewer to think about what ‘home’ means in the different contexts of the site and its evolution from forest to plantation to university.”
The three pairs of thresholds explore both past and present, featuring images and stories of people and their experiences across more than 250 years. The six pieces would be clad in handmade, earthen tiles containing a unique collage of images gathered from archives, family albums, oral memories, and current work. The imagery is intended to demonstrate the interconnectedness of the human condition through time, position, and experience.
Sean Kizy & Amrita Raja
Say Their Names, the proposal offered by Sean Billy Kizy, RA and Amrita Raja, AIA, amplifies the many voices of Virginia Tech by creating a space to gather, reflect, and speak up.
The monument’s design is informed by several projects -- the feminist narrative of Judy Chicago’s “Dinner Party,” the patchwork quilting of artists from Black communities, patterns in Native American textiles, and the pink triangle of the queer rights movement. The form, materials, and collaborative visual content of the proposal prompt the Hokie community to come together and explore racial and social justice movements over time.
Elena Manferdini, principal of Atelier Manferdini, explores the relationship of the history of Solitude and the Fraction Family House and their place in present society in her proposal, Twoness.
“This proposal encourages further reflection in this space so as to better understand how past injustices continue to persist and inform who we are today,” said Manferdini. To illustrate this, she offers use of portraits of present and historic Indigenous and Black individuals woven together with mirrored tiles reflecting the audience.
The proposal, Twoness, materializes the act of reflection, physically and mentally. “Twoness’ invites the audience to partake in a critical reflection of the narratives of this country, from its preconception through its founding and modern condition,” said Manferdini. “It challenges us to reflect on our role in this larger narrative.”