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Social Justice Collection


Bill Barrett
American, b. 1934

2001 bronze sculpture

SSWB North West corner on path from South University

Bill Barrett believes abstract art is like music, that everyone who listens--or looks in the case of art--has different ideas about it. He believes that art is communication between people and invites you, the viewer, to participate in making meaning of this work for yourself. Nonetheless, he titled it “Kindred” which implies family, ancestry, like-minded spirits.The forms in this sculpture reiterate those ideas.This bronze is composed of parts which could be human but do not resemble any individual or group of people. We see an abstract collection of biomorphic shapes standing independent yet inked by arm-like extensions. The connections made by the “arms” visually connote an embrace or perhaps a dance. The artist implies--by title and appearance--the relational nature of humanity.

Bill Barrett (UM BA, MA, MFA) was commissioned by the School of Social Work to create Kindred, a 10-foot bronze sculpture, dedicated September 20, 2002. Kindred stands at the entrance of the School’s Educational Conference Center. Barrett, whose work is included in public and private collections throughout the world, says that the fundamental style of his sculpture was developed during his years at UM while while working with his mentor, Tom McClure. The purchase of Kindred, 2001 was facilitated in part through Barrett’s generosity.

Funded in part through a generous gift from the estate of Dorothy Deile Purdy and Clinton Edward Purdy.

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