The Collegian
Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Light installation in Commons creates reflection on lake

<p>Former U of R resident Martin Bonadeo's "Reflection" over Westhampton Lake </p>

Former U of R resident Martin Bonadeo's "Reflection" over Westhampton Lake 

A blue, inverted outline of South America and its rivers shone outside the Tyler Haynes Commons Thursday evening after Martin Bonadeo, an Argentinian artist and professor, unveiled his light installation titled “Reflection.”

Bonadeo said he got the inspiration for the project last spring when he was a visiting scholar in the Latin American, Latino, & Iberian Studies department at University of Richmond. During his four months at Richmond, he lived in a house overlooking Westhampton Lake.

The light installation is meant to be reflected onto the lake at night. But because of windy weather, the reflection of the South American rivers was not visible Thursday.

Despite the missing reflection, students gathered in the bridge outside the Commons during the cold, windy evening to admire the lights shining through the windows.

The outline of the rivers resembled veins, and guests observed as the lights lit up intermittently. The phrase, “It looks like a beating heart,” was repeated amongst the viewers.

“They say the Amazon is the lung of the world,” Ted Peebles, director of the Spanish Intensive Language Program, said as he observed the artwork. “But upside down, South America looks more like a heart.”

Peebles said he thought Bonadeo wanted to intentionally show us that looking at something upside down could give us a different impression.

Bonadeo said the fact that his installation looked like a beating heart was partly on purpose and partly coincidental. He laughed and said, “Just like everything in life.”

The piece is not only about the reflection in the lake, but also about the word “reflection” itself, Bonadeo said. He said he wanted people to reflect on his art and to think about its meaning.

The map of South America is set up upside down in the window of the Commons so that it can be reflected right-side up in the lake. Bonadeo said that when he was putting up the installation in the window, somebody said, “Hey, It’s the other way around!”

“It’s such an interesting concept,” said Amy Reader, a senior and art major. “It’s a great way to use the lake, which is something not all campuses have.”

Bonadeo said the reflection on the lake would vary depending on the wind. He said that when he lit it up last Wednesday night, the reflection could be seen very well on the lake.

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“When the wind is calm, the reflection is perfect,” Bonadeo said. “From now until Monday, we are going to have many different states of this piece.”

“Reflection” will be exhibited at the Commons every night through Feb. 9. All are welcome to see the lights and look for the reflection in the lake.

Elizabeth Schlattet, deputy director and curator of exhibits, encouraged people to take photos of the installation and post them on social media with the hashtag #URReflection.

Contact reporter Maria Eugenia Fernandez at

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