Mama Rocks Will be the Latest Student Artwork in the University Library

May 24, 2024
Mama Rocks

The University Library supports students in many different ways. In addition to the obvious scholarly support with resources and research assistance, the library is also a major student employer and supporter of student art. There are a number of murals and art pieces throughout the library that were created by SDSU students. This fall, a new piece will be added, a sculpture titled “Mama Rocks” by student Helena Westra.

Westra is an undergraduate student set to graduate in December 2024 with a degree in sculpture and a minor in creative writing. She hopes to continue her art education by pursuing a master’s degree. She says, “Art keeps me sane, and I hope to always be creating.”

Her project, “Mama Rocks,” is a beautiful amalgamation of her passion for sculpture and creating writing and her personal connection with her mother. It was part of a juried show of student work at the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts, where Library Dean Scott Walter, Fine Arts Librarian Laurel Bliss, and Library Facilities Coordinator Maureen Dotson picked it out to purchase for the library.

“Mama Rocks” is a large installation piece composed of “rocks” (made of paper mache) with text added to them. The text is excerpted from an inspirational letter Westra’s mother wrote to her as a teen, giving life advice.

A rock from Mama Rocks

Westra says, “The sculpture is full of contrasts: light paper mache forming heavy-looking rocks, words of both joy and sadness, and strength and vulnerability expressed in my mother’s advice. Rocks bear witness to time, but words can be fleeting. At the same time, words can stay in your heart for a lifetime, while paper mache can be quickly melted away.” Westra also points out that art is supposed to be fun but also express something serious. She hopes the viewer sees the work as both playful and passionate, and challenging as well as healing. 

Westra is very excited to see the work installed in the library. She hopes viewers will spend time with it and let it speak to them. She notes that there is no right or wrong way to experience the piece, and viewers may have different reactions at different times.

“Mama Rocks” will be installed on the Love Library's 5th floor this fall as part of the ongoing renovation of library spaces. Once the installation is completed, everyone will be invited to visit.

Closer image of Mama rocks

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