October 22, 2020

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU Sculpture Joins Mask Movement

A masked Fenris greets students as they visit Odum Library at VSU.

VALDOSTA — Masks are mandatory for all students, faculty, staff, and visitors at Valdosta State University — and it appears that policy now applies to at least one member of the campus outdoor art collection.

Standing nine feet tall and made of painted steel, Fenris — also known as Fenrir, Fenric, and Fenrisulfer — is located outside VSU's Odum Library. He was installed on campus a little more than eight years ago. 

Fenris's mask was created by Dr. Colette Drouillard, an associate professor in VSU's Department of Library and Information Studies.

"I've made and donated hundreds of masks for vulnerable communities across the United States, including Georgia, as a member of the Auntie Sewing Squad (http://auntiesewingsquad.com or https://facebook.com/auntiesewing)," she shared. "Fenris's mask is just at tiny bit larger than any other mask I have ever made — understatement of the year!" 

Drouillard was inspired to create a mask for Fenris after a colleague, Catherine Bowers, Odum Library reference librarian, shared photos of famous statues around the world wearing masks.

Odum Library staff members hope seeing Fenris wearing a face mask will serve as a reminder to VSU students, faculty, staff, and visitors about the importance of following the university's pandemic-related health and safety guidelines.  

According to Norse mythology, Fenris is the wolf monster son of the trickster Loki and the giantess Angrboda. His sister is the goddess Hel; his brother is the evil serpent Jormungand.

Having received prophecies of disaster after Fenris’ birth, the principal god, Odin, cast Hel into Helheim, realm of the dead, and Jormungand into the sea. Fenris was held captive. According to the myths, he will remain bound until Ragnarok, when the ground will shudder and set him free, nine worlds will burn, and friend and foe will perish. The earth will sink into the sea. A new and idyllic world will arise; wickedness and misery will no longer exist.

Charles E. Hook, a former Florida State University art professor and internationally known sculptor who died in 2012 after a two-year battle with cancer, created VSU’s Fenris sculpture.  

“My interest in Norse mythology stems from my Scottish ancestors who were descended from the Vikings,” he was previously quoted as saying. “The Hook family coat of arms had on it a wolf with a forked tongue. I am drawn to Fenris because he is a creature who never really did anything wrong but was jailed because others were terrified of him.”

Masks covering the nose and mouth are required at all times inside VSU facilities and outside when social distancing is not possible.