What are the mysterious new sculptures around campus?

“Not only are the sculptures stunning works of art, they also celebrate the common cultural history that Hull and Iceland share”

A stunning trail of sculptures celebrates 1,000 years of Hull-Iceland ties

A sculpture trail of life-sized metal figures will go on show at the University of Hull this month as part of the Hull UK City of Culture 2017 programme.

CAIRNS, by Icelandic artist Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir, will form a trail around the University, encouraging visitors to explore the campus. Thórarinsdóttir has been a professional artist for 40 years and her figures are androgynous symbols of humanity. The exhibition opens on 28 April, with the cast iron and steel sculptures – some up to 2.5 metres high –celebrating the ties between Hull and Iceland.

Thórarinsdóttir is the artist responsible for creating the Voyage sculpture near The Deep, which has a sister sculpture in Iceland.

She stated: ‘I am thrilled at the prospect of installing CAIRNS at the campus of the University of Hull. It will be a beautiful frame for the 10 life size sculptures that will make up the sculpture trail.

“Hull has a special place in my heart ever since the Voyage project was initiated all those years ago. I’m excited to be back and hope the trail will encourage people to visit the campus and experience it in a new way.”
Steinunn’s sculptures have previously been located in public spaces around the world including outside the United Nations in New York.

The University have said that the sculptures are accessible 24/7, but advise to have a look at them during daylight hours. Maps are available from the Venn building reception and Middleton Hall and contain details of each sculpture.

Professor Glenn Burgess, University of Hull Acting Vice-Chancellor and the University’s Hull 2017 lead, said: “CAIRNS will provide the public, as well as University of Hull students and staff with an extraordinary new way to explore our beautiful campus.
“Not only are the sculptures stunning works of art, they also celebrate the common cultural history that Hull and Iceland share. The exhibition builds on the tremendous success of our Hull 2017 programme so far, which has included world-renowned art, music, film and much more.”

The University of Hull was chosen as the location for CAIRNS because the artist and University felt the campus would be a fitting backdrop for the sculptures. Not only do they respond to the beautiful grounds, but the sculptures reflect the University’s purpose as a seat of learning, inspiring minds for generations to come.