Odds and quads

July 15, 2010

This 18ft red cedar totem pole was commissioned by the University of Plymouth's Centre for Sustainable Futures (CSF).

The work reflects the city's connections with the Americas since the time of the Pilgrim Fathers and promotes a message about living in harmony with the environment. It also formed part of a project with the university's public arts programme, Peninsula Arts, to provide more arts spaces and sculpture on the main campus.

The pole was created by two Canadian artists: Henry Green, a master carver of the Tsimshian nation, and Ralph Stocker, a Haida who was then his apprentice.

The Western red cedar, which comes from the nearby Tavistock estate, may have been introduced from the New World by Victorian plant hunters.

The artists visited England to choose the wood and returned for the All Our Futures conference in 2008, when the pole was erected on a temporary site in a car park just outside the CSF building. It will be moved to a permanent location in the historic Drake's Place Gardens within a year.

Send suggestions for this series on the treasures, oddities and curiosities owned by universities across the world to: matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com.

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