For the last two months I’ve been to the middle school La Esperanza in Chimaltenango almost weekly to work with the students on the upcoming mural. We started from scratch and managed to cover a lot of themes, among them:
· How to translate emotions or ideas into a tow-dimensional image through the works of Frida Kahlo
· History, impact and importance of muralism
· How to enlarge an image using a grid
· Contrast in images, how to create grey scales etc.
· Enlarging an image through collage
· Deciding the theme
· Exploration of the theme: how to visually express the students’ ideas about no-violence in a non-violent mural
· Copying a mural design in scale on big sheets of paper
· Preparing the wall
And then it was finally time to start painting!!!! Loaded with paint, brushes and other supplies, I arrived early to work a full day, hoping to finish the entire project in two days. This was the only option because of other activities, but also because it started raining in Chimaltenango. Fortunately we did not see a drop of rain in the two days that the painting lasted.
The plan was to work with each group for two hours and then with whomever wanted to come in the afternoon.. The work went well. The students needed little supervision and enjoyed it. In the afternoon, about ten students returned to help with painting. Excellent result the first day!
The next day there was no classes because the parents came to school for a meeting and to pick up the report cards of their children. The kids had the day off, but about 12 came to paint. The teachers also came to help after the meeting. And at five o'clock in the afternoon the work was as good as finished ...
The first panel, conceived and executed by the 22 pupils of Básico 1, presents 6 figures in a proud, powerful pose, hand in hand, united against violence. Together they stand strong!
On the chests of the figures they painted the following symbols: heart (love); sun (heat, light), twig (growth, hope); peace dove; peace's symbol; and the logo type of the school (as a symbol for education as a means to prevent violence).
On the second panel is the logo (and name) of the school, surrounded by a boy and a girl in a superhero pose, ready to battle for education, perhaps? Both are armed, not with guns, but with tools and kitchen equipment. And then of course the boy with a pan and spatula and the girl with a hammer. Keywords for this mural were: equality between the sexes; collaboration; education, battle, but in a positive and constructive way.
On the T-shirt of the boy the motto of the school: That all may stand up and nobody stays behind, from the Popol Vuh.
The third panel is made by Básico 3 and represents a boy and a girl who keep each other in balance while they hold their fingers up in the peace sign. Keyword were: peace, love, friendship, balance, collaboration.
Many, many thanks to the Dutch foundations that sponsored this project, Colour4Kids and Uno Más; the staff at La Esperanza; Jessica Hoult and of course, the terrific kids who participated in this project.