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 Sunway University recently debuted an inspirational steel masterpiece which now stands at the University’s foyer to send a message of hope to students and youth especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Measuring 5 metres tall and 4 metres in width, the steel sculpture, aptly named ‘Destiny’ was single-handedly sculpted by artist Infantino Fernandes, to portray the relationship between knowledge and the ability to write one’s destiny.  

Commissioned by Sunway University’s Founder and Chancellor Tan Sri Dr Jeffrey Cheah AO, the iconic sculpture will serve as an integral part of the Sunway family for many years to come and inspire generations of students and future nation builders. 

Destiny holds a mortarboard and graduation scroll on both hands. Through the details on the face and body language, the artist attempted to capture the happiness, satisfaction and triumph that one exudes after an achievement. 

Created by using individual strips of mild steel, special attention was given to the sculpture’s robe to replicate the organic sway of fabric. The sculpture stands on a ‘pen’, which symbolises continuous learning and creation of one's character throughout their life. It also represents the ability for an individual to write their own destiny through the way they think, feel and act. 

Infantino hails from Goa, India and had initially studied Mechanical Engineering but decided to pursue a career as a chef in the hospitality industry. He has completed courses in photography, graphic design, web design, 3D animation and ceramics, and eventually became a full-time sculptor.

“The message I wanted to convey through Destiny is that it is very much possible for one to take charge of your future. In life, although we might find ourselves in unfavourable circumstances, we still have the power within us to choose how we respond, and knowledge would help us realise our power,” said Infantino.

“Knowledge is key to the intelligence that helps to differentiate between a reaction and a response; in identifying between the logical and the emotional, and in deciding between the right and wrong,” he said.

Infantino hopes that Destiny would encourage students and youth in realising that they have the power to sow the seeds of transformation in society, a realisation that can be brought about with knowledge. 

“Most often we wait for others in the society to make the change, so we could just hop on to the bandwagon. We lack the courage to make the change ourselves because we fail to understand that if we make the first move, we could have control over our lives and indirectly impact the society we live in,” shared the artist. 

“We hope that the sculpture will inspire students and youths to believe that if they follow their hearts and passion, whilst allowing your mind to stay guarded, great things are possible. If they believe in themselves and work hard, they have the power within to make a difference in the world.”

Destiny is the tallest sculpture ever built by Infantino and took him about eight months to complete.

The artist also shared the challenges he faced while building the sculpture including relocating the working space from his workshop to the loading bay that is spacious enough to accommodate the work.

“Since I prefer to work single-handedly, with every little detail I added in I would have to climb up and down the scaffolding to check if it was aesthetically sound. That means I would have to climb up and down the scaffolding almost 30-40 times a day,” shared Infantino. 

Besides physical challenges, every piece the artist works on came with a mental and emotional challenges. 

“I have come to understand, deal and learnt from these challenges which, I believe it all sums up to teach me lessons that I think it’s beneficial to my professional and personal life,” he added.

Fernandes has been Sunway’s resident artist since 2014 and has since crafted ‘Yang’ in 2015 located at Sunway Putra Mall; ‘Victor’ in 2016 at Sunway Velocity Mall; ‘One’ in 2018 at Sunway Lagoon; ‘Ibu’ in 2019 at Sunway Medical Centre; and ‘Destiny’ in 2020 at Sunway University.