Roots of Knowledge: An art piece that’s built a community
Reading Time: 3 minutes Eight years after its completion, The Review revisits the Roots of Knowledge with Curator Kindia du Plessis to see how it has impacted the community.
Located in the Bingham Gallery in the Fulton Library, the Roots of Knowledge is a public art project created by Holdman Studios in 2016 to celebrate UVU’s 75th anniversary. Former UVU president Matthew Holland initiated the project which “spanned twelve years from its conception to its completion, with four years of active construction,” according to the website.
This week, The Review sat down with Roots of Knowledge Curator Kindia du Plessis to discuss how the department has evolved since its inception and what it’s done for the university since. Kindia du Plessis completed her BFA in Art and Art Education at BYU and later got her MA at the University of Cincinnati. She still considers herself a student and finds that the university is one of the best community environments out there.
In the interview, The Review discussed with her the mission statement that’s available on the Roots of Knowledge website. Kindia du Plessis said that when they were formulating the mission statement, they “were thinking very much about the intention of the artwork.” Hoping to convey the biggest message of the art piece, “how what we’re doing now, is creating the future we will pass along to the next generation.” She later mentions how the artist who came up with this concept wanted it to be a message directly to the students at UVU. Holdman Studios, the artist behind the artwork, wished for students to see themselves in the artwork to empower them to be the change that they want to see in the world, according to du Plessis.
When asked whether they’ve seen this effect on students, du Plessis states that there are multiple levels in how that’s played out, but perhaps the most significant part of their impact is the students who work for them. She finds it’s important to have students engaging and benefiting the community and themselves to that mission statement’s focus.
To achieve this goal, the Roots of Knowledge conducts different projects to enhance the experience for visitors, which requires “a lot of research from the students.” This level, according to du Plessis, helps students learn and apply new knowledge for all involved or visiting the art piece.
Part of this is the themed tour, where students volunteer to discuss and share their research with the community. Each theme that they pursue can have students sharing different aspects of the windows. “All of our themes are kind of different lenses of history and so sometimes it’s a topic where the student has a personal connection. And sometimes it requires a student to step into someone else’s shoe.”
As for the community, Roots of Knowledge hosts a variety of tours for elementary school and will have tours for secondary education in March, as part of their evolving curriculum. Roots of Knowledge does this to foster a positive library-based connection with the community. Du Plessis states that “there’s a statistic that people are more likely to utilize a library if they’ve had at least one positive experience at the library.”
The department sets its sights ahead by setting a goal of showing what students and faculty have achieved on campus with new projects. They plan on continuing the lecture series and finding new ways to showcase students’ work. “It’s like an open-source opportunity for anybody on campus to learn from anybody on campus.” They also plan to bring as many people as possible from across the colleges at UVU, as their research has found that “innovation happens at the space of overlap.”
For more information about the Roots of Knowledge and upcoming events, visit their website or talk to one of the docents in the Bingham Gallery.