The exhibition is called Los Trompos — Spanish for “the tops” — and is a collaboration between two Mexican designers, Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena.
The sculptures, which were designed to look like oversized spinning tops, were created by weaving fabric in a traditional style by Mexican artisans. They are set on bases that allow viewers to sit on and spin the sculptures. The exhibit consists of four tops on the front lawn of the Ackland Art Museum and four more spread across campus.
Planning for the exhibit began over the summer when Katie Ziglar was named director of the Ackland Art Museum.
“When I arrived last summer one of the things I noticed was our front terrace was very empty and our building is set off from the road quite a bit so it can be invisible to people,” Ziglar said. “We looked at ways to enliven our front yard and put something intriguing out there that will catch people’s attention.”
She said one of the main goals of the exhibit is to introduce people to a new way of interacting with art outside of the traditional hands-off style people associate with art. The sculptures invite students to use more than just their eyes by interacting with the structures.
The exhibit is a collaboration between Chancellor Carol Folt’s Arts Everywhere Initiative and the Ackland. The museum paid for the sculptures in front of the museum and the Chancellor’s office paid for the ones installed around campus.
“Arts Everywhere is a new campus wide arts initiative supported by the Chancellor’s office,” Rachel Ash, the associate director of Arts Everywhere, said. “There are two definitions we think about. One is the literal definition and trying to increase the physical presence of art on campus. The second is more of a figurative definition and that is about making the arts a central part of the Carolina culture and experience.”
The Los Trompos exhibit is the first thing Arts Everywhere has done on campus, but the initiative has more plans. One of these is the campus wide Arts Everywhere Day that will take place on April 7. Ash said the day will have events and hands on activities at 22 campus locations with over 30 performances.
Students have found the Los Trompos exhibit to be an exciting way to interact with art.
“I feel like you can appreciate the art more, because it’s more interactive,” Benjamin Chilampath, a first-year student, said. “It shows how there isn’t just one type of art, it can be so many things.”
First-year biology major Liana Kostak said she likes how the bright colors are something new on campus.
“They are really cool. I think it is a nice way to liven up campus and they are relaxing too,” she said.