The newly debuted Janice Hawkins Cultural Arts Park and the International Arts Center are now home to the “Warriors Unearthed” exhibit, designed by artist Frank Marquette.
The exhibit begins on the lower level of the International Arts Center and extends outside into the park.
According to a university press release, “ ‘Warriors Unearthed’ (is) a collection of and an interpretive center for some 200 replica terracotta warriors, believed to be the largest such collection of statuaries outside of China.”
The terracotta warriors were constructed by artist and sculptor Huo Bao Zhu from Xi’an, China, who has previously made contributions to the university, and received an honorary doctorate from Troy in 2014.
In addition, the exhibit includes an arrangement of four terracotta warriors partially excavated, demonstrating a promise of more to be discovered, coupled with two Grecian pillars near the pond, which represents an aspect of Western culture.
According to Marquette, he was contacted by Alex Whaley of Whaley Construction Co. on Tuesday, May 17.
“They (Whaley Construction) had been working with the university and their architects to decide on a design for the layout for the warriors in the cultural park,” Marquette said. “They got into contact with me because they wanted a fresh perspective from an industrial designer.”
Marquette flew to campus on Saturday, May 21, to visit the site and conduct an environmental assessment.
“I laid out on the hill of the park to physically examine everything,” said Marquette. “I let the nature talk to me.”
In designing the exhibit, Marquette aimed to convey the theme of the park: “East Meets West.”
“The park has to deliver the message in a way that the two things are complimentary, not contradicting each other,” Marquette said.
Marquette said that the inspiration for his designs derived from a quote of Roman philosopher Nicolaus Cusanus: “God is an infinite circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.”
“It perfectly fit the nature of this university because students come from everywhere in the world, bringing with them to Troy, the center, their own cultures to share and then spread out all over the globe,” Marquette said.
It became Marquette’s guiding light for designing the park, as he saw the pond as the center and everything else on its circle.
After forming a clear premise and concept for his design, he worked on the design through the night and presented the design the following day.
He received positive feedback, and the virtual design was immediately approved.
Xixi Xiao, a senior theater major from Xian, China, said that she was amazed by the exhibit.
“I like the design of the park a lot,” Xiao said. “I am so glad that Troy University students have the opportunity to enjoy the cultural value of one of the world’s heritages.”
Marquette said that the construction process took approximately 90 days.
Joseph McCall, a senior lecturer of history and the International Student Cultural Organization adviser, said that he loves how the art center’s basement draws visitors into a deep physical and metaphysical space.
“As a historian, I am also glad the park brings East and West together,” McCall said. “As someone who values art, I was amazed by the collection of paintings and sculptures and look forward to seeing lots more student and faculty art exhibits.”
McCall hopes the university continues to make the park more conducive to the casual use of the space as a place for small gatherings, picnics and even possible class meetings.
The Janice Hawkins Cultural Arts Park and the International Arts Center are open to both the public and students.