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Interactive Sculpture Shows Solidarity with Ukraine

July 22, 2022
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A professor in the South Carolina School of the Arts at Anderson University dedicated his sculpture to the humanitarian and refugee crisis that is ongoing in Ukraine.

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An Anderson University art professor moved by the Ukraine-Russia conflict created an interactive sculpture with a purpose. 

Zac Benson, professor of art in the South Carolina School of the Arts at Anderson University, created a sculpture, titled “A Peace of Candy,” that symbolizes his stand with the Ukrainian people. Funding for the project came with assistance from the Anderson University Center for Global Engagement from an FDC (Faculty Development Committee) Summer Research grant and the Biblically Based Immigration Grant from the CCCU (Council for Christian Colleges and Universities). 

Below, Benson shares how the conflict has impacted him, as well as his vision for helping the victims:

“The images and stories coming out of Ukraine have emotionally overwhelmed, angered, shocked and distressed all of us. In my preliminary research of the war, I have spoken to individuals who are or know people on the front lines. Most of these individuals are Christians who were living in either Russia or Ukraine at the time or are currently serving on the humanitarian front lines. Their stories are heartbreaking.

My studio is a place where I navigate contemporary happenings using my faith, and there I have been wrestling with this war since it began. This war has brought me to tears and perhaps most importantly, to my knees in prayer and supplication for the Ukrainian people. The Lord has laid on my heart the desire to act and help those in need through my art.

The purpose of my sculpture is to not only bring further awareness to the war but also aid the ongoing humanitarian crisis. The sculpture is interactive in nature, and I wanted all viewers regardless of age and physical state to be able to participate as this war has shaken all of us.  

The piece will consist of three rows of nine candy dispensers that will each correspond to the color of the Ukrainian flag. Each candy dispenser will be painted to correspond to the exact color of the flag as well as be filled with chocolate candy corresponding to the same color of the flag. This piece will then be interactive in nature in that the viewer will be able to come to the piece, insert a quarter, and receive chocolate candy. All people, from my three-year-old son to my 83-year-old grandmother, will be able to participate in helping the Ukrainian refugees. 

All the proceeds from the viewer’s participation will go to Samaritan’s Purse, a faith-based humanitarian effort, and be designated for the Crisis in Ukraine fund.”

The sculpture is currently on display at the Anderson Arts Center.

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