Friday, March 29, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 119


UH gives big hand to 5th Ward

Sculpture: Russian artist's work will contain more than 2,000 bricks

By Andrew Fritsch
Daily Cougar Staff

Tanya Preminger doesn't look like the type of person who enjoys handling stones and concrete for 12 hours a day, but with trowel and freshly shaped brick in hand, this Russian-born sculptor who resides in Israel is obviously in her element.

Preminger, 57, has been sculpting for more than 30 years. The retired art instructor and mother of four travels the world participating in art symposiums and
competitions and creating commissioned works.

In association with the UH Sculpture Department and the Buffalo Bayou Art Park artist-in-residence program, Preminger is constructing a statue resembling
the traditional Middle Eastern greeting <I>hamsa<P>, which looks like a hand. Preminger is the fourth artist resident in the six-year-old program.

"I was looking on the Internet, and I saw Buffalo Bayou Art Park wanted artists, and they chose me," Preminger said.

The piece, titled <I>Hi<P>, will be moved to Lyons Avenue in Houston's Fifth Ward today.

"I chose to make this work as a greeting to American people," Preminger said. "The number of God is five (hence five fingers), and the work is a blessing for

But there is also a bigger meaning to the work.

"<I>Hi<P> is made from bricks because they are individual entities," Preminger said. "But the individual pieces join together to make a bigger structure, a
hand, a house an empire.

"That is where America gets its strength, from the celebration of the individual in the whole," Preminger said.

Once the work is moved and completed, shrubs or plants -- Preminger hasn't decided yet -- will be added to the fingertips. The vegetation will represent the
creative force that encourages growth, Preminger said.

The sculpture, which is approximately 10 feet tall, will be completed on the site because it cannot be moved at its full height of 11 1/2 feet, said Paul
Kettleston, a professor in the sculpture department.

Once completed, the sculpture will weigh approximately 12 tons (26,400 pounds) and contain 2,000 bricks. The structure also contains a solid concrete
base and steel and foam reinforcements that function as an internal foundation, Preminger said.

The Buffalo Bayou Art Park and the sculpture department are connected through Kettleston and others who were involved with UH's School of Fine Arts in
the 1980s, said Kevin Jefferies, executive director of the BBAP.

"The Art Park is located on Allen Parkway near the Sabine Street bridge, and it facilitates the placement of public art," Jefferies said.

"This is the first time we have had anyone outside the country participate in the program, so this is an unique opportunity for us and the students who get to
work with her," he said.

The sculpture will make its home on Lyons Avenue because the BBAP wanted a permanent installation -- all works in the park are temporary -- and the Fifth
Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation had available land, Jefferies said. Jefferies informed a friend at the CRC about the project, and the parties
agreed on placement, he said.

The Brown Foundation, Acme Brick and the UH Art Department donated to the sculpture effort.

"All art comes from life," Preminger said. With concrete and bricks, Preminger attempts to promote that statement.

Preminger will give a presentation about her work at 6 p.m. Monday at the Sculpture Building, located at Wheeler Street and Calhoun Street.

Send comments to

To contact the News Section Editor, click the e-mail link at the end of this article.

To contact other members of 
The Daily Cougar Online staff, 


Advertise in The Daily Cougar

Student Publications
University of Houston
151C Communication Bldg
Houston, Texas 77204-4015

©2005, Student Publications. All rights reserved.
Permissions/Web Use Policy


Last upFriday, March 29, 2002:

Visit The Daily Cougar