Artists: Kevin Smith, John Young, Blanca Schorcht, Ranjana Bird, Karen Smith
The start is slow; the blank glass and blank pages seems to intimidate this group of smart, funny people. They all claim “no artistic skills whatever.” Annie points out that everyone in the room came at different points in the university’s history, and that means different perspectives. Those different perspectives, she says, illuminate and enrich the history of UNBC. The word children is their word, she tells them and “the children of today are the UNBC students of tomorrow. How can you depict that?”
Each one falls silent, grapples with the blank page in front of them.
“Okay, what have you got?” Wendy asks.
“I have a tree; it is the tree of knowledge, and children are the roots. As they grow up, they feed the tree of knowledge, they nurture it and as they grow through the tree they expand our knowledge. The branches and leaves are the fruits education can bring to children and the leaves are the gifts children bring us. This tree of knowledge is UNBC.”
“I have the word children but each letters is shaped as a symbol of childhood.”
“I have drawn the word children too, but with the letters branching out into the words knowledge, Inspire and UNBC. Children link them together.”
“I have drawn a simple house and the sun. You know; the kind we all drew when we were first starting school and were told to draw a house.”
“I have two hands, the hand of a child trustingly in the hand of an adult. They are walking hand in hand into the future; the word with this image is ‘inspire’.”
They all like all the ideas. They don’t know how to choose just one.
They find a way forward, to weave all the ideas together. Each letter of the word CHILDREN will be a root, shaped as a symbol of childhood. This is the beginning of the tree of knowledge that is UNBC. The leaves on this tree will carry the words the group agree link children and UNBC together with the journey forward into learning: Wisdom, leadership, humanity are all growing from the tree of knowledge.
In the background is the childlike version of home, demonstrating how UNBC is close to home for the many northern BC children who can choose to have a university education without having to leave their northern roots, a choice denied 25 years ago, before UNBC was born. In the background on the other side is the pairing of adult and child walking hand in hand, the basic foundation of education that links child and teacher, the basic foundation of learning that education fosters.
As a collective creation, these images weave together and create a northern landscape embedding knowledge, inspiration and UNBC as stepping stones for children to grow and flourish in a journey of learning.