“Are you responsible for this?” asked a man hurrying by and pointing to a massive Block-I sculpture in the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts lobby. “Great job!”
Hursh Hazari and Nahid Akram, first-time artists of monumental found object sculpture, beamed and waved in acknowledgment.
The two are responsible for the Block-I shaped from campus’ own early spring supply of empty beverage bottles. The sculpture is an Earth Week gift of ISTC and the Student Sustainability Committee as an impossible-to-miss reminder of the importance of recycling or repurposing the mountains of waste we produce.
Nahid is in the first year of a master’s of architecture program. His designs for buildings are already built in his native Bangladesh. After completing his undergraduate training at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology he worked at an architectural firm for four years.
Hursh studied polymer science as an undergrad at Dehli Technological University in New Dehli, but his interests turned to renewable solar and wind energy, so he enrolled at the U of I to study power and energy systems. He plans to promote sustainable energy use in India, where unreliable power grids make grassroots wind and solar installations very popular.
Both spotted the job as sculptors on campus’ virtual job board and saw in it work that advanced their professional interests. They needed all of the 20 oz beverage bottles they could sort at the campus Waste Transfer Station for their design. They were washed and disinfected at ISTC and, over the course of three weeks, they were fitted into their new educational configuration.
ISTC’s Zero Waste Illinois program is noting the metrics from the sculpture project as part of their ongoing campus building waste characterization project here at the U of I. ISTC is helping the University meet its Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP) goals with waste audits of individual campus buildings – a big step toward becoming a zero waste campus.
The artwork is on display at Krannert through Saturday, April 23. More on the sculpture.