Dordt University senior art major Annabelle Vanderkooi of Abbotsford, British Columbia recently had her artwork installed in the Campus Center – "The Mosaic Masterpiece," a wooden mosaic of the world that reflects Romans 12:4-8: “We have many parts in the one body, and all these parts have different functions. In the same way, though we are many, we are one body in union with Christ, and we are all joined to each other as different parts of the body.”
Vanderkooi designed a geometric map template in Adobe Illustrator that was then sent to woodworker John Doornenbal who used a woodcarving machine to cut out the triangular pieces and continent shapes. Vanderkooi chose to work with wood because it allowed for precision and flexibility while also achieving durability.
“The most difficult part of this process was putting the puzzle together, as we were given all the triangles but had no clue where on the map they belonged,” says Vanderkooi. “Once we located the pieces, I labeled the edge of each triangle so that we had a system that made this puzzle easier to complete. It was a long process considering the installation is made up of almost 200 pieces, but every detail and part of the process matters and was worth it in the end.”
“The Mosaic Masterpiece” is a collaborative project that embodies the unity in diversity on Dordt’s campus. “As a community, it is important to celebrate our differences and individuality while acknowledging we are united in Christ,” says the mosaic description. Students were able to share a part of their story on the back of each removable piece, where they wrote briefly about their own stories.
The mosaic is the culmination of Vanderkooi’s art education at Dordt, highlighting how she sees art and design as a tool that should be utilized to serve a greater purpose. She partnered with Director of Diversity Initiatives Alex Vasquez and MOSAIC, which hosts on-campus events for students and faculty where they learn from one another, acknowledge that their identities are found in Christ, and celebrate their differences.
“We wanted to create a mural that celebrated diversity and unity,” says Vasquez. “Annabelle helped achieve the goal by creating a beautiful mosaic of the world using the continents to showcase the big picture of humanity. Each country represents a unique part of someone’s story, and we encouraged every student to participate by writing their unique story on the back of a piece. Annabelle’s artwork beautifully showcases the unique cultures and stories of different people while highlighting our shared humanity.”
“I am incredibly honored that my art is now installed at Dordt,” Vanderkooi says. “I feel like I have left my mark on campus with this piece. I am most proud of the message that this piece embodies and the hard work that made it possible.”
David Platter, associate professor of art and design at Dordt, says that the artwork is a testimony of collaboration and community found at Dordt. “And now, Dordt has a wonderful new work on the outer staircase wall by the Grille,” he adds. “Annabelle’s passion, commitment to her vision, and willingness to step out and try something different for her senior project really paid off!”
The maintenance team at Dordt was thrilled to install Vanderkooi’s artwork, especially since she worked on the maintenance summer crew last summer and developed strong relationships with her supervisors. “They’re such a genuine group of people, and I am so thankful for their hospitality and willingness to help out whenever it is needed,” she says.
After graduation, Vanderkooi plans to move home to Abbotsford and start a position as a marketing coordinator and junior designer with a company there. She will also intern for a large design agency to get experience with a team of creatives. Looking back at her Dordt education, Vanderkooi is thankful for the art faculty members she has built relationships with and the many friendships she’s made during her four years on campus.
“Something else that stood out to me about my Dordt experience was the amount of opportunity there is,” she says. “This project was an opportunity that came about that I might not have had elsewhere. I encourage other students to take advantage of the blessings that come their way because of Dordt University. Dordt has offered so much experience, growth, and opportunity that has shaped me to be the person and servant of Christ that I am today.”