Melissa J. Fullwoord,  
Research Fellow, Shenolikar Lab, Programme in Neuroscience & Behavioural Disorders

In 2007, as a second year PhD student in the National University of Singapore’s Graduate School for Integrative Sciences and Engineering (NGS), I received a rather interesting email: an invitation to become part of the university’s Faculty Stone project, a collection of 14 marble sculptures from all 14 faculties designed to represent the themes of our faculties, led by the eminent alumnus sculptor Chong Fah Cheong. Together with Felicia Loe, Mei Yee Ding, Selena Wu, and Wendy Wei Jia Soon, we began work on our own stone.

Designing the stone was interesting: our original idea was to carve out a sphere, to represent a global outlook. We quickly found out that spheres are the most difficult things to sculpt. So we decided, no more sphere. Working on the stone was slow and laborious, even with power tools. While hacking away at marble was very therapeutic, it was difficult to spare time from research. My contingency plan for the stone was to “polish it up and call it abstract art” if it did not work out – this idea didn’t go down too well, though. Fortunately for us, Fah Cheong guided us much of the way, and also helped us construct a large part of the sculpture. It was also insightful hearing what Fah Cheong had to say about art – a good piece of art is something that stimulates the audience to look closer, and walk around the sculpture. 

Very much like research, our project took much longer to finish – instead of finishing in 2007 as planned, we only finished in 2009, and the faculty stones were unveiled at the 80th Anniversary Bash of the faculties of Arts and Social Sciences, Dentistry, and Science. But the work was worth it – the sculptures were all gorgeous, and inspired me to look closer, and walk around them.   

Come view our beautiful faculty sculpture, and the other wonderful sculptures, at the NUS Shaw Foundation Alumni House (Alumni Terrace) at the Kent Ridge Campus!