News / Toronto

Students' Pan Am sculptures inspire accessibility in sports

A set of rare sculptures sit in the ravines near the Scarborough campus of University of Toronto.

There’s nothing particularly striking about the pieces. The four polished and bent pieces of wood, each standing about four feet high complete with two pinwheels near the top, could easily be overlooked.

But the artists — three UofT students working in collaboration with Hart House — hope they’ll send a memorable message to community members: Sports should be open, inclusive and accessible to everyone.

“There is no limit,” said Zarish Asif, an arts and city studies student who worked on the installation as part of the Pan Am Path project.

“The fact that these sculptures are outside and accessible and everyone can touch them is really important,” she said. “It is reflective of the idea that there should be no barriers in sports.”

Asif teamed up with colleagues Vineetha Sivathasan and Zee Bolad for the installation. The works are meant to be played with — welcoming people to reach out and spin the spinwheels, Asif said.

Built at a height accessible to a person in a wheelchair, the works are near a tennis court that will be home to matches during Parapan Am competition next month.

The artists hope people who interact with the pieces will get a sense of how important it is for sports to be inclusive, Asif said.

“This is about encouraging personal drive and ambition, exploring and being creative,” she said.

The sculptures will be on display until late October.

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