Tile by Tile, Bowdoin Artist Creates ‘Elemental’ Beauty at Local School

 

Tariq Haq'12

Tariq Haq '12 is building a mosaic in a local Brunswick school

 

Tariq Haq ’12 has been searching local art stores, flooring shops, building-supply outlets and other venues for donated tiles he can use to create a free mosaic in the cafeteria of the local elementary school.

His flowing, colorful mosaic, titled Elements, was selected out of 19 proposals from students in Prof. Mark Wethli’s spring 2011 Public Art course.

Now Haq has an Edward E. Langbein Summer Fellowship to support him as he works on the project, which he expects to complete in the Harriet Beecher Stowe school by September.

To get a sense of where to locate the mural, Haq he toured new school before it opened last fall. He chose to work with the cafeteria’s bare 14-foot walls. “I designed the mosaic to represent the elements: earth, water and fire,” he said. “I wanted to make something kid-friendly, so the three walls are of a tree, a wave, and a volcano.” He added, too, that much of his art is geometric, patterned and colorful — all qualities that typically appeal to young kids.

Model for Tariq Haq's 'Elements'

Simulation of Tariq Haq's 'Elements'

This will be the second public art project Haq has created for Brunswick. Earlier in June, the town unveiled Haq’s Cornucopia, a six-banner piece installed on the south wall of Hannaford supermarket, across from the new train platform at Brunswick Station. Both pieces were selected by a consensus of people, including members of the civic group Brunswick Public Art Group. Both installations were designed as assignments for Wethli’s Public Art course.

Elements is being created at no cost to the public school, Haq said, and he’s seeking donated supplies and funding to help him cover the considerable expense of the tiles. He’s envisioning the mosaic will include a variety of tiles, made of both ceramic and glass in many different colors, shapes and textures. “It’ll be Gaudi style,” Haq said, referring to the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi, who created intricate, exuberant mosaics in Barcelona.

Haq, who grew up in Waterville, Maine, will spend next year teaching art and English at a school near New Delhi in India, where his cousin teaches. He’ll set up an art program there, as well as work on murals to adorn some of the school’s walls. Following that, he anticipates he’ll attend graduate school at some point.

Already a successful public artist, Haq says he’s inspired to keep making pieces for the public sphere, and credits Wethli and his class for inspiring him. “It’s rewarding to design something from start to finish, and then have the community receive it warmly and welcome it,” he said.

Haq also thanked The Maine Building Materials Exchange in Lisbon for donating tiles to his school project.

The Edward E. Langbein Summer Fellowships provide grants to enable an undergraduate or recent graduate to participate in summer research or advanced study directly related to his or her major field or life work. The competitive grant program is just one among many that Bowdoin College offers to qualified students to support summertime research, projects or internships.

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