The U of O has a new mural to adorn an exterior wall of the University Centre. Photo: Rame Abdulkader.
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U of O inaugurates new University Centre mural

If you’ve spent some time walking on campus this week, you have probably noticed the new artistic addition on the side of one of its buildings.

On Sept. 4, a small crowd gathered outside the south-facing wall of the University Centre to inaugurate the work of University of Ottawa alumna, Laura Taler, “the Hand is a Mind is a Heart.”

“The specific location was chosen for its central location overlooking the University Square where students from across the campus converge,” explained U of O President, Jacques Frémont to the assembled crowd.

“It also compliments the iconic mural, ‘les yeux,’ which is the massive pair of eyes created by the late University of Ottawa visual arts professor, and celebrated Canadian printmaker, James Boyd,” continued Frémont.

The 32-foot tall artwork was sought to artistically represent a theme chosen by the university—the inner workings of the mind of a U of O student.

“When I was making ‘the Hand is a Mind is a Heart’, I wanted to position the body and its breath of sensations as central to the acquisition and transition of knowledge,” Taler explained.

“We think so much of learning as this intellectual activity—that it’s really about the mind, but you really learn through your body. There’s so many ways that you learn. I would like students to think about how their body and their emotions participate in the learning process.”

For students trying to decipher the artistic representation on their daily commute to class, Taler stresses that you will need to think about the body’s learning process.

“Here, gesture and touch are signalled through the hands. Hearing is signalled through the ear-shaped form and thought through the resemblance to the brain,” she said in her speech. “If you look at the work with your head tilted to the left, the shape of the hands resemble the brain.”

According to Taler, “the Hand is a Mind is a Heart,” is a part of a larger work that she started in 2015. “When I saw the call, when it came out in the summer of 2015, I had something that was like a mock-up that I thought if I take this to the next level, it could be a good concept for this proposal.”

From there, it has been three years of creating and editing that came to its conclusion when the work was inaugurated on Monday in front of the University Centre’s south-facing wall.

“I’d like to stress how important this moment is,” said Frémont. “(There need) not only (be) concrete (adorning) the campus of the University of Ottawa—there should be art everywhere and that’s why I’m so thrilled to have this beautiful piece of art overlooking the main campus.”


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