A school’s inspiration for their Resene Wall Worthy mural

Glamorgan School in Auckland was one of the ten winners of our 2023 Resene Wall Worthy mural Competition, with this impressive design reflecting the unique environment around the school, full of pohutukawa trees and teeming with monarch butterflies. The mural coincided with the school’s 50th Jubilee as well, making it extra special!

Here we chat with Fiona, teacher at the school and the coordinator of the mural, about the inspiration and design process behind the mural, and how well it was received by teachers and students alike!

What was your inspiration for the mural?

The inspiration for our mural came from standing in the playground and thinking about what made our school so special. Fifty years ago the pohutukawa trees were planted and ever since then the children have explored and learnt about the local environment. They have learnt how to be waterwise in the bay that can be seen from the school grounds. For many decades the monarch butterfly has called Glamorgan its home. The caterpillar as it transforms into a beautiful butterfly, mirrors the journey each child at our school takes and how they too can make small changes to reach for the stars and change the world.

The inspiration for this mural also came from a quote by Harriet Tubman: “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world“.

What was your design process?

Once I had thought up the design I sought the approval from the children I worked with. They were very enthusiastic so I knew I was on the right track. Unfortunately the kids weren’t involved in the painting of the mural as the only time it could be painted was before and after school and at the weekends. Every now and then I gave the kids a sneak preview of the progress I had made.

The panels were painted in the school swimming pool changing rooms which had only natural lighting. The panels had to be maneuvered constantly as I worked on the panels on a couple of picnic tables and being a small space, only a few panels could be lined up at any one time.

When I had nearly finished I moved the panels into the school hall and laid them out to make sure the design lined up across all the panels. Word got out and suddenly I had a large excited audience! Every part of the mural was painted three times and then a sealant, recommended by Resene, was applied to protect the paint from the harsh environment.

Where did you look for painting tips?

I looked on the Resene website for tips on painting a mural. The staff at the Resene Colorshop were very helpful and gave great advice which was definitely needed as I had never undertaken anything like this before. They enjoyed seeing the progress when I went in to collect more paint.

What’s your advice to schools wanting to participate in this year’s Resene Wall Worthy Competition?

My advice to schools would be to have a go! I was so glad I entered. Keep the design simple so children could help and bright colours look stunning.

I think I would be keen to enter again. It took many hours to do but I think it was worth all the effort in the end. There aren’t too many opportunities to paint something so big and to paint something that the public can enjoy. I don’t think I would do anything different if there was a next time. 

The mural was installed just before our school’s 50th Jubilee celebrations. Scaffolding was installed and one by one the panels went up watched by lots of excited children. They were all guessing what the final mural would look like.

I think the best reaction was from a Year 2 child who ran up to me and gave me a hug saying, “Thanks for making our school beautiful”. One class came out and cheered and clapped as the final panel went up. The mural provided a bright backdrop to our jubilee celebrations.

Anna-Marie McAleer, the new Principal of the school, added:

“As the new Principal at Glamorgan, I was immediately impressed with the school environment. There is a welcoming feeling of home and a brightness that makes you instantly happy to be here! Part of that is due to the beautiful artwork on display, including the vivid and colorful piece designed and painted by our staff member, Fiona De Lisle. The artwork is a special tribute to our community’s flora and fauna. It definitely brightens our space and welcomes you to our school. “

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