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It’s a Donkey! It’s a Chicken! It’s a . . . Chi-Donk-Ephant?

The lake area behind Georgia Southwestern’s Fine Arts Building is home to a host of different creatures. Geese, cats, and deer have all settled down to a view of the lake and the woods behind it. Perhaps competing for the most interesting sight are the singular duck that lives alongside the geese and the ever-watchful Chicken-Donkey-Elephant. Most would proclaim the latter to win the competition.

Created in 2011, the Chicken-Donkey-Elephant sculpture was born from a department-wide effort that began in sculpture professor Chuck Wells’ freshman 3-D Design class. Wells wanted his students to work on a large piece consisting of animal heads built from welded material. Further inspiration came from the election of President Barack Obama and the formation of the bipartisan Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, colloquially referred to as the Supercommittee.

What began as a project to reflect cooperation and consensus quickly transformed into a towering testament of the quarrelsome and disagreeable state between the Democratic and Republican parties. Although united as a group in the Supercommittee, the parties were unable to accomplish much, leaving their representatives “stuck together on chicken feet,” said Laurel Robinson, professor and chair of the Department of Visual Arts. “Things politically have gotten even more divisive, and yet we are still welded together!”

Perhaps the multitude of names given to the colossal creature supports the discord and divergence that it represents. Names proposed by students included, but are not limited to, the Chi-Donk-Ephant, Political Animal, Elephant Donkey Chicken Thing, The Super Committee, Political Dragon, and, courtesy of Wells’ daughter, SpongeBob. Whatever one decides to call it, there’s no doubt the sculpture’s recent 10-year anniversary on the campus marks both its status as part of the GSW community and the commitment and skill of the Hurricanes who built it, admire it, or have even yet to encounter it.

“A lot of people don’t really pay attention to what’s going on around them until something giant is in their face,” said 2013 Visual Arts graduate Devon Kester. Kester and her peers built the sculpture not just for the purpose of turning heads, but to bring attention to the world around them and make people reflect on their community, a goal that has and will continue to drive GSW’s Hurricanes for generations.

 WATCH YouTube video from October 2012 on the creation of the Super Committee ChiDonkEphant.