Freshman mechanical engineering student Nathan Williams is the 2017 winner of the Purdue University Northwest intramural sports art contest, where students create and enter artwork based on the theme of activities at the fitness and recreation building. His winning entry is painted on the fitness and recreation building wall behind him.

HAMMOND — A Purdue University Northwest mechanical engineering major used inspiration from the ancient Egyptian warrior goddess Sekhmet as the catalyst for his winning drawing in an art contest sponsored by the intramural sports department.

Depicted as a lioness, Sekhmet was known to Egyptians as a fierce hunter.

The winning drawing was completed by freshman Nathan Williams, who drew his take of PNW's lion mascot and impressed the judges with the level of creativity.

PNW Intramural Director Matt Dudzik said the art contest is part of the intramural program, which people typically think of as sports only. The contest was open to all students (from both campuses — Hammond and Westville), but the painting of the mural will only be done at the Hammond campus.

"Our program is unique with the variety of activities we offer from the traditional flag football, volleyball and soccer, to the nontraditional activities such as the mural contest, baking and gardening," Dudzik said.

"We try to offer something for everyone. You don't have to be athletic or into sports to find something to join in our program. We offer these nonathletic activities, but still keep the sports theme or concept by making these events a competition."  

Dudzik said each fall, the intramural program sponsors an event called Intra Mural, happily pointing out the play on words.

The art contest gives participants an opportunity to design a mural on poster board with a theme based on the activities that take place in the Fitness & Recreation Center.

This year’s theme is in celebration of the 65th anniversary of the intramural program at the Hammond campus. Some of the criteria for winning is whether the artist carried out the theme, creativity and meaning (does it tell a story, to make a statement or is it just great visual appeal).

Dudzik said participants have a short window in which to turn in their drawing. The winner of the best drawing gets to paint their mural on the running track wall in the Fitness & Recreation Center.

This event is part of the university's intramural program, which offers more than 40 activities. "The goal of our program is to get everyone at the university involved. We don't want to limit people who may not want to participate in anything athletic," Dudzik said.

Williams, the winning student, said he jumped at the opportunity to participate in the contest. He said he actually drew the lion last year, polished it up and decided to submit it for the contest. He was among nearly a dozen students who entered.

"This is my first semester here," he said. "I figured why not leave my mark on the school while I'm here? I heard about the contest and decided to participate, because the university's mascot is a lion."

Williams said that in Egyptian mythology, Sekhmet is the warrior goddess and goddess of healing, and known as the fiercest hunter.

A couple of weeks ago, Williams began using the second-floor wall as his canvas. He said it took him about six hours to begin painting the brilliantly colored red and orange lion on the wall, and he is about 90 percent complete.

Williams' mural, which joins seven other murals at the second-floor track of the center, will inspire people to run and to do a "few more laps," Dudzik said.

"We've had positive responses from the people who run up there on the track," he said.

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Education reporter

Carmen is an award-winning journalist who has worked at The Times newspaper for 20 years. Before that she also had stints at The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., The Post-Tribune and The News Dispatch in Michigan City.