Traveling sculpture stops at Union for spring semester


Union University is the host of an important guest for the remainder of the spring semester. Adam Creating Himself is an original piece by Karen Swenholt, a figurative artist from Northern Virginia. The sculpture will be displayed in Modero for students to examine. Adam is taking a tour of various colleges, and Union is the first stop. Adam has come to Union from The Tennessee Center for Bioethics and Culture, and he plans to direct our attention toward the ethical issues pertaining to humanity “creating itself.”

“Our organization uses creative and provocative resources to help people think critically about bioethics issues such as cloning, stem cell research, genetics, genomics and assisted suicide,” said Joy Riley, executive director of the Tennessee Center for Bioethics and Culture.

Swenholt was unexpectedly inspired to create the piece one afternoon as she was leaving her art studio.

“When I turned a corner at the art studio and saw all the slabs of recycled clay stacked up by the potters, I laughed because I flashed on the idea of Adam atop of them pulling himself together,” Swenholt said.

Members of the Tennessee Center for Bioethics and Culture hope the piece will provide professors with a launchpad to incorporate bioethics issues into their classrooms. The piece gives professors a unique chance to bring up relevant scientific shifts and discuss how those shifts change the way humanity views itself.

“We have a multitude of ways we try to create ourselves,” Riley said. “There is selective termination where people abort babies that have deformities, and some people go as far as to use plastic surgery to be like the living Barbie and living Ken.”

Adam Creating Himself will be in Modero for the remainder of the spring semester and can be viewed anytime the shop is open.