Walking around campus these last few weeks, you might have noticed something different about the CCT courtyard. Or it might have blended right in. The newest addition to the campus, an art piece called “Curiosity, Knowledge, and Wisdom”, is a fitting tribute to UTM’s natural setting.
A life-size wood carving made out of recycled white pine, the piece features an owl perched on top of a tree trunk, a cardinal on a branch lower down, a raccoon poking his head out of a hollow, and a fawn sleeping happily at the base. The donor, UTM alumnus Dr. Leny Sferlazza, picked these animals as representative of UTM’s fauna. Sferlazza, now a dentist, says he typically sees most of these animals on the walks he takes with his family through campus, and that the owl symbolizes wisdom.
It was during his time as a student that Sferlazza met his wife, also a UTM alumna, in the Blind Duck Pub, back when it was still a trailer. His donation of the artwork to campus is, he says, a means of giving back and of celebrating his family’s personal connection with the campus. The installation was also a surprise for his wife.
The piece is part of a larger collection resulting from a partnership between the City of Mississauga and self-taught artist Jim Menken, who takes dead trees and turns them into pieces of art. A map of the locations of the other pieces around the city is accessible on Menken’s website (jimmenken.com). Four others are located along Mississauga Road near UTM.
Yan Tam-Seguin, the project manager of the Office of Student Affairs, initiated the installation project, and is happy to have afforded Sferlazza the chance to make a gesture that fits in with the general environment of the campus. “We have a beautiful campus with a real commitment to green space,” she says.