Art professor, students create pins in memory of Alnahdi

By University Communications
November 18, 2016
Masako Onodera solders the copper ring.

Photo: Masako Onodera solders the copper ring.

Hussain Alnahdi’s friends say he left a lasting impression on everyone who knew him. The impact he made is being honored with the creation of a special pin at University of Wisconsin-Stout.

Masako Onodera, an associate professor specializing in metals and contemporary art jewelry in the School of Art and Design, has created a copper pin with three intertwining rings to remember Alnahdi and to help the university and area community come together in the wake of his death.

Alnahdi, a junior business administration student from Saudi Arabia, died Oct. 31 after being beaten and found unconscious the day before in downtown Menomonie. His death remains under investigation by Menomonie police.

Onodera hopes to make hundreds of the pins, maybe even 1,000, by hand to give to students, faculty, staff, area residents and others as a tangible sign that they are united in moving the university and area forward to help prevent similar tragedies.

The finished pins.“The pin represents a way to share our feelings — to stay calm and work together,” she said.

Already, one of Alnahdi’s roommates and a former UW-Stout student from Milwaukee who knew him are wearing the pins, she said.

Onodera, a native of Japan and herself once an international college student in the U.S., is receiving help from several dozen UW-Stout students — some international — and some Menomonie residents. They have been volunteering in the evenings this week, in part to have as many pins ready as possible for a memorial dinner in Alnahdi’s honor to be held Thursday night, Nov. 17, on campus.

“The art of making it is part of the healing process — being part of a community that cares,” Onodera said.

The pins will be available at the dinner and afterward. For more information on how to receive a pin, contact Onodera.

Masako Onodera solders the copper ringThe pins are free, but donations will be accepted for the Alnahdi memorial fund. Donations to the fund can be made online.

Onodera is donating her time and personal supply of materials.

The pins are labor-intensive. If made individually, each one would take about 15 minutes, she said.

In the art metals lab in the Applied Arts Building, the joint in the dime-size copper ring is soldered shut, oxidized, hammered flat, smoothed with a file, hammered for texture and soldered again, the second time to attach the pin. Then it’s treated for color, cleaned with steel wool and sealed with wax. Finally, it’s joined with the two smaller brass rings.

“The process is important. I want to make something that will last a long time,” Onodera said.

Like Alnahdi, Onodera came to the U.S. to go to college and had to learn English. She lives in downtown Menomonie, not far from where Alnahdi was found.

“His death is close to me personally. It’s had a strong impact on me. Making the pins is a way to connect my interest in jewelry with my emotional struggle,” she said.

Onodera has exhibited her art metals work and jewelry nationally and internationally. Learn more at her website. Metals and contemporary art jewelry is a concentration within UW-Stout’s undergraduate program in studio art.

Investigation, reward

Anyone with information about the assault is asked to call Menomonie police investigator Kelly Pollock at 715-231-8511. Anonymous information can be submitted at 855-847-3866 or at Crime Stoppers. You may also text “TIPDUNN” followed by your message to 274637 (CRIMES).

A reward is being offered for information about Alnahdi’s death; learn more here.



Middle Photo: The pins are being made in the art metals lab at UW-Stout to honor Hussain Alnahdi.

Bottom Photo: Masako Onodera solders the copper ring.