Gandhi Statue restoration could rack up $60,000 bill

Jessica May

Jessica May
The Gandhi Statue in Peace Plaza is continuing to rust.

Here at UNF, we see our beloved Gandhi standing tall in the Peace Plaza almost every day, but it seems the statue has not been doing too well in terms of withstanding the brutal Florida weather. Many Floridians know what the weather can do to our property. From cars to barbecue grills, the wet air and salty environment causes things to rust faster.

The eight-foot-tall, 1,500-pound bronze statue that symbolizes Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence, community service and social justice here at UNF has internal metals which rust in the Florida humidity. The Gandhi statue has a plaque off the side due to installation issues, and there is rust spilling off of it onto the granite next to it.

Photo by Jessica May

“Florida is the hardest place I’ve ever worked in, in terms of surface,” UNF Professor of Sculpture Jenny Hager said.

According to Hager and Mauricio Gonzalez, the Vice President for Student and International Affairs, the most ideal way to fix the statue would involve recasting it with bronze and refurbishing the granite beneath the statue. For all the materials and work that will go into restoring it, the estimated cost totals around $60,000.

The Office of Student and International Affairs has been working with the Gandhi Memorial Society to raise funds for the repairs. The Gandhi Memorial Society donated the statue to the University in 2006.

There have been prior attempts to keep the statue from rusting so quickly, such as using bronze paint, but these only proved to be temporary fixes.

Jasu Shilpi, Gandhi’s sculpture artist, also created the Martin Luther King Jr. statue which was installed within the same campus plaza. This statue was also created with bronze but has different internal metals as well as weep holes, which are openings in the statue to allow water to drain out.

The restoration of Gandhi is a part of a larger project done by Art on Campus and the Office of Student and International Affairs. Other statues on campus are in need of repair but will not be nearly as costly as the Gandhi statue.

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