This project was with Fernridge school and Masterton Primary, in Masterton, supported by the Wairarapa Road Safety Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council as part of the Regional School Travel Plan programme which aims to have more children travelling safely, actively and sustainably, to school.
I worked with two full classes of ten year olds to create three pou each, positioned along the walkways to schools. They act as markers at which children can be dropped off, and walk, bike or scooter from there to school. The aim is to encourage active transport, and a sense of ownership and observation of the route through art.
We began by walking the route together, after a talk by me and some training on how to ‘look like an artist’. We looked for details and small wonders rather than large shots, and we tried to find contrast between colours, shapes and forms. Some things made or built, some nature; birds, trees and leaves to scuff through. The time of year is spring now, so we looked at all the blooming trees in pinks and bright yellows. Cows, dogs and cats were also popular!
We drew and painted with lots of colours, learning about contrasting colour, and other hands on colour theory in the process. We decided to try some hand painting and went wild outside with our hands slapping on the paint, creating a wild Monet style painting! We decided to use this technique to get the paint onto the Pou as a background, so that it was covered with colour and texture.
Collaging our drawings helped us to look for contrasting colours, shapes and textures. We then worked directly onto the pou. The mission was to cover every inch, and to intertwine all of our ideas and designs. The kaupapa of this project was that everyone is creative, and there is a place for every kind of mark. Also that there is no ‘my bit’ or ‘your bit’, but that together we make something far more beautiful than we could ever make alone.
There were so many incredible moments of discovery and wonder in this project, of working together and learning. One thing which was the most exciting to many of the groups was a surprise to me; how to make brown! It seemed that it was a total wonder that a whole range of colours mixed together made this colour; that it isn’t one which stand alone. The interconnectedness of all the colours and how they worked together was a good metaphor for the project as a whole, which taught me, yet again, that we are all stronger together.
Thank-you to Fernridge and MPS school for working so hard to make the magic happen with me, Wellington Greater Regional Council, the Wairarapa Road Safety Council, and all of the amazing children I worked with.