Arts and Culture / Magazine Feature

Student installs giant avocado on campus

art installion

University College student Terri Taziri installs a polystyrene avocado sculpture in DU Humanities Garden.

When Terrie Taziri proposed that she study how public art can change or enhance the environment around it, she thought she would merely study the topic. 

Instead, her capstone adviser preferred a more hands-on approach.

Taziri will install a giant avocado sculpture at two campus locations to observe the changes to environment around it. A master’s student in visual art and design in DU’s University College, Taziri will have the avocado float in one of the upper pools of the Humanities Garden the first week of July then move it onto the grass between Penrose Library and the Driscoll Center.

“It will be ridiculously out of place, which is what I want,” she says.

Taziri has been furiously working in her garage to get the avocado ready for its debut. She used a hot wire tool to sculpt the avocado out of a piece of polystyrene (Styrofoam) that’s about 8 feet tall and 4 feet wide. 

Her blog says it took five days to chip away enough polystyrene for the work to look like an avocado. 

“It’s a lot harder than I thought it was going to be,” she says. “It’s 115 pounds; it weighs about the same as I do and is hard to grab onto.”

DU instructor Judith Cassel-Mamet, Taziri’s adviser, says Taziri has taken the concept of a “creative capstone” to new heights.

“She has incorporated many elements into her efforts beyond the traditional literature review: from blogging to sculptural installation to collaboration with a wide range of departments on campus,” Cassel-Mamet says. “I am so pleased that this University really embraces innovation and creative expression. Personally, I can’t wait to hear all the jokes about guacamole.”

Even though it’s summer and the campus is quiet, Taziri hopes people stop by the installation. The results will be part of her capstone, which she hopes to submit on July 17.

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