Houston, TX

Rice University showcases its newest public art piece 'Seif'

Jackson Cutler

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Katharine Shilcutt/Rice University News and Media Relations

HOUSTON, TX - Last week, over a 10 feet tall colorful glass bricks named Seif, lights up day and night on the lawn outside the new Sid Richardson College tower shares with Will Rice College and the Seibel Servery.

Seif is a twisting helix of Murano glass bricks sculpture made by an Iranian-born artist named Shirazeh Houshiary. This is one of four original works by leading women artists added to the campus collection, especially to support Rice’s dedication in expanding its public art collection.

Alison Weaver, the Suzanne Deal Booth executive director of Rice’s Moody Center for the Arts was honored to have Houshiary's art piece installed for the Rice public art collection. She's looking forward to seeing Seif as a way to engage students, faculty, staff, alumni, and visitors to campus.

When Houshiary visited Rice in February, she was inspired by the way the Texas sunlight filtered through the canopy of live oak trees on campus. Therefore, she constructed Seif with custom-made glass bricks in Italy to activate the different colors and glow based on the moving sunlight.

Houshiary also chose the site herself, including the trees that will be planted and grow around the Seif. Frauke Josenhans, curator of the Moody confirmed that the sculpture is interacting with the trees and merge with its surrounding.

From Houshiary's point of view, Seif represents shifting dynamics of wind where centripetal and centrifugal movements rise and fall. The connection of visibility and lights from the glass bricks symbolizes human psyche characteristics and desires for "simultaneous visibility and invisibility, materiality and immateriality, presence and absence...like those that dwell in glass.”

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