Sculpture by Anita Huffington
Anita Huffington presented this alabaster sculpture titled Rebirth to the University of Arkansas Libraries in memory of her daughter Lisa Huffington Duque, formerly a student at the University, who was killed by a drunk driver in 1982.
Anita Huffington presented this alabaster sculpture to the University of Arkansas Libraries. According to an inscription on the pedestal, the piece was given in memory of her daughter Lisa Huffington Duque, formerly a student at the University, "with special thanks to Dean Bernard Madison" of Fulbright College "for his vision and fruitful efforts to bring art to the University of Arkansas."
Rebirth depicts a young woman in a curled fetal position. Huffington wrote that she saw it as "a metaphor for change and growth . . . a continuum of all that has been passed on to us from countless lives past and present." She finished the work on June 30, 1982, and on July 31, her daughter Lisa was killed by a drunk driver. The sculpture is mounted on a simple pedestal on a landing of the sprial staircase in the east entrance foyer of Mullins Library. Light from the large windows on the east side filters through the white alabaster, which is luminous in daylight, in accord with Huffington's wish that the piece be displayed in a quiet place near a window.
Although Huffington has settled in the Arkansas woods outside of Winslow, she is well known in national art circles. A native of Baltimore, she attended the University of North Carolina and soon went to New York City, intending to become a dancer. She did in fact study dance with Martha Graham and others and threw herself into the intellectual and artistic life of the late fifties and sixties. She abandoned her ambitions as a dancer, however, and returned to college, eventually earning her M.F.A. degree. She began working in stone and found that "it was the key" that seemed to unlock her creative energies.
Huffington's work is exhibited in galleries in New York, Houston, Dallas, and other cities. Her sandstone torsos were shown at the "Armory Show" in New York, an art event of international importance. In 1997 she received the Jimmy Ernst Award of the American Academy of Arts & Letters, a "lifetime achievement" award given to a painter or sculptor whose lifetime contribution has been consistent and dedicated.
Rebirth is the second Huffington sculpture to find a home on the University of Arkansas campus. In 1998 a bronze torso entitled Spring was purchased and is on permanent exhibition in the Bogle Hall in Old Main, headquarters of Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences.
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