The IU trident —a symbol of IU pride —stands as a 6-foot-tall statue between Concourse A and B in the Indianapolis airport. It was unveiled Jan. 19. The piece was commissioned by IU to Expo Arts, a design company based in Indianapolis. It is expected to stay in the Indianapolis Airport until Jan. 2025.
Lola Hamilton, an IUPUI alumna, was one of the people behind the installation and creation of the sculpture. Hamilton graduated with a degree from the Herron School of Art + Design in Indianapolis in 2009.
“Initially, I was focused on 2D paintings and drawing, but then a class I took within the 3D Art department made me fall in love with sculptures,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton began as an employee of Expo Arts, formerly known as Expo Design, in 2012. She and a colleague bought the business in 2020 when the owner retired. Initially, the company focused on parade floats, but post-pandemic the industry posed several challenges leading them to focus on sculptures.
“We don’t rely on machines a lot here; almost everything is done by hand,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton said the trident sculpture is comprised of a steel-sheeted frame that is completely hand-built and lit from within.
The building and installation process came with some logistical challenges, she said. When working with heavy materials like steel, there is an additional strain on the crew with regards to transportation.
“The sculpture weighed probably around 1000 pounds, and that was a challenge,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton said she was excited to work on a project for her alma mater.
“[It’s] nice to say that’s where I went to school [and] put my name and career onto something that truly represents me,” she said.
Hamilton said the sculpture represents the contributions IU has made to the Indiana community and beyond.
“The brand as a whole is widespread throughout the country; everyone knows who a Hoosier is, and to have such an impactful piece in the hub of the city is a proud moment,” Hamilton said.
Coming up, Hamilton is working on one of her largest pieces to date — a center piece for the NBA All-Star Championship.
“I loved working with IU,” Hamilton said. “Let’s hope I get to collaborate again in the future.”