The Ladies’ College Junior School, Melrose, has paid homage to the 76th anniversary of Liberation Day with a piece of collaborative artwork reflecting ‘freedom’.
With the support of Helen Bonner-Morgan from Arts for Impact, each pupil from Reception to Year 6 has contributed a piece of artwork depicting what freedom means to them following their lockdown experiences over the last year.
The mural construction began in April 2020 ahead of the 75th anniversary of the occupation, but due to lockdown from the pandemic, the project had to be postponed. Pupils returned to school in September and were determined for the project to go ahead. The colour scheme changed to a rainbow theme linking to the lockdown rainbows created by children across the island.
The piece showcases the work of 150 girls from aged 4 – 11 years and has been mounted near the entrance to Melrose, with an explanatory plaque.
Arts for Impact was keen to support Melrose’s idea to commemorate 75 years of freedom from the German occupation by creating an artwork including the entire cohort of pupils. Arts for Impact project leader, Helen Bonner-Morgan, designed the engagement process in such a way to ensure that every girl contributed their ideas, spirit and marks.
Helen said: “Melrose now has a colourful and expressive modular artwork that reflects the values and energy in the school. Working with this amazing group of young pupils was very special. The first lockdown caused a delay and required us to adapt the brief because by the time the project got underway, the girls had experienced their own period of isolation and separation from their normal freedoms.
“It was a fabulous and timely opportunity for the whole group to empathise with islanders who were occupied. They reflected on the things that mattered to them most and considered what they’d missed while being kept safely at home. Art projects of this kind not only help develop creative and critical thinking skills, they also allow space for conversations to build and issues to be raised. I’m really proud of how this collaboration came together and the bright and colourful artwork created”.
Melrose Headteacher, Mrs Ozanne, said: “We are so pleased that we have managed to complete this whole school art project. The girls used it to really reflect on what was important to them in life and what freedom meant to them on a personal level. They then had to use their skills to represent this simply, through art. A project like this has such relevance with the link to both lockdowns and Liberation and I hope that it will be a visual reminder of this key time in Melrose history for many, many years to come”.