Lionel Thomas, untitled "Symbols of Education", 1958-1960, smalti tile, University of British Columbia
The University of British Columbia's graduating class of 1958 commissioned Lionel Thomas to build the "Symbols of Education" mosaic for the new wing of the Brock Hall Annex. The piece consists of 54 separate blocks/symbols each representing a different faculty or department within the University. The symbols were created by Thomas after consulting with each department across the campus. The smalti tile mosaic was completed in 1960 with the help of Lionel's wife Patricia.
Lionel and Patricia Thomas building the "Symbols of Education" mosaic, ca. 1958. photographer unknown
The UBC has a great interactive site that explains each design on the "Symbols of Education" mosaic mural. When you get to the site just click on the "Interactive Version", next click the foward button twice to get to the roll-over version, then when you roll-over each symbol a window pops up explaining its meaning. Cool. Click here.
Lionel Thomas, March 1977. Photo: Jim Banham, UBC digital collections
Lionel Thomas (1915-2005) was a Canadian artist and teacher, born in Toronto in 1915. He studied figurative art at several schools in Toronto from 1933-1937. In 1940 Lionel and his wife Patricia hitch-hiked to Vancouver, where they became active in the local art scene. During the early part of his career he created mostly painted works and exhibited at many shows. After about 1956, he began to focus more on producing sculptures and mosaic murals; many of which still stand throughout British Columbia. He taught at UBC from 1950 until 1981 in both the Fine Arts and Architecture Departments. Lionel Thomas died unexpectedly at the age of 90 on May 6, 2005. For more information on Lionel see this link here.
Mosaic photos shown above via Cardena's Flickr page.