University of Hull's new sculptures come from foothills of Poland
THEY were once lime trees destined for log fires in a small village in Poland.
Now, they stand as 40 wooden figures, peering out at the Larkin Plaza at the University of Hull.
The 2.5m tall sculptures are part of a Polish season at the university to be launched next month.
They have been carved by artist Robert Koenig.
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He initially carved 12 figures out of lime trees from the village of Dominikowice, in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains in south-east Poland, where his parents live.
As the exhibition has travelled around Poland and Britain, trees have been given to the artist to add to the collection.
Marianne Lewsley-Stier, of the faculty of events office in the Larkin Building, said: "They are quite striking. Everybody stops and looks at them. They ask about the stories behind them.
"Everyone is welcome onto the campus to come and have a look.
"There is a lot of information in front of the sculptures and more in our art café."
The 40 men and women are carved out of trees that would otherwise have ended up on a log fire.
Koenig uses the trees to illustrate and explore the heritage and roots of his family in Poland, as well as issues of migration and identity.
The figures have travelled through cathedrals and public places in Poland and England to arrive at the Hull campus in Cottingham Road.
The sculptures are part of the university's connecting communities work to get people from the community to visit the campus.
Professor Alison Yarrington, dean of the faculty of arts and social sciences, said: "It is marvellous for the university to display these sculptures by Robert Koenig on their journey as part of our Polish season.
"As an anchor institution for the region, we are pleased to work with Polish communities and the sculpture exhibition is just one of many cultural events the faculty is hosting from October to December.
"We look forward to welcoming visitors to the campus and to share our research and cultural engagement."
Professor Martin Goodman, director of the Philip Larkin Centre, said: "The university is proud to have its own Polish consul and a rich tradition of academic links with Poland.
"With such a strong Polish community in Hull this season is a real chance to both celebrate and learn about a rich heritage that is truly important to us.
"Spinning out of the Philip Larkin Centre's regular programme of events we are delighted to link the expertise of our own staff and students with a great rosta of exciting visitors.
"Showcasing music, poetry, film, art, stories and ideas, we do hope everyone feels welcome to drop by the campus and take part."