Joy and Happiness
“Memorials act on the body by being destinations which may summon visitors to their existence … they create communal spaces for individuals to convene and commemorate,” (Hess, 2007, pg. 826). This specific memorial called Joy and Happiness to All Children of the World by Zarub Tsereteli is dated 1979 and resides on The College at Brockport campus. This memorial holds a strong presence on the campus, physically and inspirationally, and is a visitor’s destination every time there are off-campus groups visiting, and even still to the employees of the campus that have worked there for years. The members of the community love this memorial which also includes a fountain, and you will find lunch goers typically eat outside on its surrounding benches to enjoy the view and relaxation the memorial extends.
The narrative constructed at this memorial site explains that this memorial was a gift of the Soviet Socialist Republics to the students of the world in hopes that it would bring light and knowledge to all. This memorial stands for the International Special Olympics and the International Year of the Child, which was a proclamation intended to draw attention to any problems that affect the children of the world, ranging anywhere from lack of access to education, to malnutrition. According to the Brockport Web site, during the summer of 1979, The College at Brockport was “honored to be chosen to host the fifth International Special Olympics Games … and more than 3,500 mentally challenge individuals, ranging in age from 10 – 80 gathered in Brockport for the International Games”.
Without reading the plaque that holds of the meaning behind this site, on could say that this memorial strongly suggests togetherness and friendship within the community. It’s bold and strong presence makes you feel that you could stand taller with confidence, and shows you to appreciate those around you in your community. The fact that this memorial forms a circle of people (this is actually the Specials Olympics logo), implies that we are all one and should unite and end any judgments or discrimination in the world. The fountain brings relaxation and a calming ambiance that makes the viewer reflect on their life and what brings them happiness. There is a path leading up to this sculpture from the sidewalk and circles around the memorial to view it from every angle. There are benches around this site for longer viewing, and obvious attention to the surrounding landscape can be noted as well. The only difficult thing is that one can walk up to this site from any angel so with the plaque of its dedication being near the sidewalk and far away, someone might not know the true value and meaning behind this memorial. With the recent construction of new buildings to the campus, the view of this site is being covered and hidden from certain areas of the campus, yet it is still visible from a main road that goes through the campus. This also speaks to Blair’s argument in the Hess article about how multiple memorials have been built in public spaces that compete for attention, and I do find this to be a factor with this memorial.