Rosa Zapata, News Editor
On Tuesday, Sept. 22, Illinois Wesleyan University hosted the dedication of the sculpture, Family with Dog, in memory of the late Illinois Wesleyan University trustee, Roger Joslin.
Joslin was a former financial officer and vice chairman of State Farm Insurance. He passed away in 2014.
Last year, IWU president Richard F. Wilson and his wife attended an alumni dinner in Sarasota, FL. During their stay, they discovered a sculpture exhibition, which prompted them to inquire whether or not it would be possible to bring back some sculptures to IWU.
“Frankly, I was not too optimistic that we would be able to make these arrangements, but I failed to recognize my wife’s determination to make it happen,” Wilson said at the dedication.
Ultimately, the university was able to bring back six sculptures, one of them being Boaz Vaadia’s Family with Dog.
Wilson said he’s always had a continuing interest in celebrating the arts on campus. Particularly, he said he’s wondered how the university might use public art to create an atmosphere on campus that signals its appreciation of the arts and enhances the experience for students and visitors.
“Everyone had their favorite,” President Wilson said. “But Family with Dog was a clear winner in terms of popularity. All you had to do is be here this past weekend for Family Weekend to recognize how popular it has become as a place for photos on the Wesleyan campus.”
IWU had the sculptures on loan until June 2015. In honor of Roger Joslin, the Joslin family donated Family with Dog to the university. “Today we celebrate Roger’s life and thank his family for their generosity and continuing support for Illinois Wesleyan,” Wilson stated.
Boaz Vaadia, the well-known sculptor and the brain behind Family with Dog, came to the United States from Israel in 1975.
“I grew up in a farm in Israel with a great love to mother earth and nature. That love is the core of my exploration as a sculptor today,” Vaadia said.
“There are several things that inspire my work. It’s really inspired by the natural formation of stone in nature,” Vaadia added. “Bluestone is a sedimentary rock that forms in nature by layers, and the pressure of the sediment creates the layers. This particular material does not allow you to do anything else but work with those layers. So it’s a great challenge but the formation of nature really inspired my work.”
“That is really what developed my style. For Family with Dog, it is really the exploration of making a family unit to honor families. I encourage you to look at the back of the piece. You can see how the woman hugs her husband, and that hug is actually created by one slab of rock that connects both parents,” Vaadia said.
Vaadia happily admitted his connection to IWU would remain for life through Family with God. “It is wonderful to see my sculpture Family with Dog find a family and a home at Illinois Wesleyan,” Vaadia said. “What happens between the viewer and my work is where the magic of art exists. To know that this piece will offer that on a continuous basis for many generations to come, where every visitor who looks at my work will have their own unique experience, that is the where the magic of art happens.”
Towards the end of the ceremony, Wilson thanked the Joslin family for their generosity, as well as Vaadia for is work. “I cannot imagine a more fitting tribute to Roger,” he said.