Coined by Brock employees and students as the Rhino, the Cannon, and most popular, the Bullet, over the years the She Wolf sculpture has acted as a central meeting place for student lovers, friendly hangouts, and at times, drunken debauchery. It’s also been the source of heated controversy.
She Wolf arrived on Brock’s campus in 1992 as part of The Teutloff Collection. In 1988, Lutz Teutloff, director of a commercial art gallery in Germany and collector of works by international artists, along with then-president Terry White, developed a plan by which Brock would accept 12 works of art as a loan from Teutloff. The works would be carefully chosen by Teutloff – works that he felt were particularly “open” and accessible to students and other viewers in an educational context like a university.
Upon its arrival, She Wolf was met with controversy and outrage. Members of the Fine Arts Committee and other members of the Brock community were unhappy they were not consulted about the acquisition.
“The Fine Arts Committee was mandated to help Brock create and follow through with a vision for what the institution should collect – Canadian art,” said Lesley Bell (BA ’88, BA ’90), visual resources librarian at Brock University. “Which this sculpture and others immediately arriving at Brock were decidedly not.”
People were also upset at She Wolf’s appearance. “Without interpretation,” said Bell, “the appearance of the work gave it a sinister, cartoonish meaning.”
What’s more, according to a Brock Press article dated Dec. 2, 1992, “Pat Wilson said the term ‘She Wolf’ in Latin means prostitute, and Stella Slade stated that the Women’s Studies department wants the statue removed.”
But once the controversy cooled and explanations about the work’s meaning circulated, the Brock community began to appreciate its campus artworks. “It seemed a new piece was arriving on a yearly basis,” said Bell. “The community came to anticipate a new arrival with curiosity. The university even produced a small brochure that invited people to take a walking tour of the sculpture collection.”
Facts about She Wolf:
- Brock University Visual Arts professor Derek Knight coordinated an informative illustrated book about the Teutloff Collection in 2002. In the publication, essayist Mark Daniel Choen, director for the Drew University Semester on Contemporary Art, explains the sculptor Ilan Averbuch’s intentions. “She Wolf is the head set on its side — dislocated, thrown off its kilter, positioned to permit a view of its interior, which is hollow, without substance, empty. The form also resembles a missile, a weapon of destruction, as well as the she wolf of the title — a clear reference to the legend of Romulus and Remus, sons of Mars, the god of war, who were raised by a she wolf and who became the founders of ancient Rome, and thus of civilization.”
- Wasps love the cozy wood interior of She Wolf and students congregating in and/or around the artwork risk being stung.
- She Wolf was a target of graffiti once, which presented a real headache. Bell said “the sculpture is clad in copper that forms its own protective oxide, turning blue-green. In stripping the paint, the oxide would be stripped as well. Brock’s Department of Facilities Management had to consult with a conservator and they did a great job without noticeable harm done to the work.”
To see what other Brock grads had to say about She Wolf, check out December 16th’s Facebook thread at facebook.com/brockalumni
Do you have any rumours, tales or Brock lore to share about She Wolf? Do you have any suggestions for future Brock lore topic? If so, please comment on this article.