Acclaimed sculpture installation “Borders” comes to Valpo, the first college campus to host the exhibition after prominent displays at the United Nation Headquarters in New York City and Grant Park in Chicago.

Light and shadow. Heaven and earth. Division and unity. The themes present in the 22 figures that make up “Borders,” by renowned Icelandic artist Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir, reflect many aspects of the human condition and allow viewers to experience the silent dialogue across invisible boundaries.

Thórarinsdóttir originally conceptualized the installation for the Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza by the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, and it has since traveled to prominent locations including Seattle, Dallas, and Chicago. The 11 life-sized pairs observe invisible borders that keep them forever separated, and yet the similarities between the pairs, and among all the figures, acknowledge a shared nature.

“The idea is to emphasize the fact that we are different, but at the same time we are really connected and the same,” Thórarinsdóttir said. “Even though this installation was first thought of for the specific site in New York City, these figures find their home somehow.”

Through the contrasting materials, Thórarinsdóttir hopes to capture the essence of the human condition. The installation engages viewers in a direct and intimate way as they navigate between the divide and find connections among mirroring figures.

On display along the path between the Harre Union, Chapel of the Resurrection, and Center for the Arts, the sculptures complement Valparaiso University’s vision, encouraging students, faculty, and staff to celebrate both their similarities and differences as a diverse community.

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