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Arts / New mural marks 40th anniversary of Hamnavoe school

Photo: Gaada

A COLOURFUL mural is now adorning an outside wall at the entrance to the Hamnavoe School in Burra to mark its 40th birthday.

Local artist Jono Sandilands worked with primary five, six and seven bairns on the design.

The artwork happens to take pride of place on a piece of wall previously earmarked for a mural that never materialised.

The mural was commissioned by the school itself and Burra-based arts organisation Gaada was on hand to facilitate the project with funding from Creative Scotland.

Through the project the artist also received guidance from the Glasgow-based Cobolt Collective.

At the centre of the image is the Fugla Ness lighthouse, and its light beams contain imagery inspired by the children.

Jono Sandilands. Photo: Gaada

Sandilands also created a font for the school, made during workshops with the bairns, which was used to spell the words ‘Safe Haven’ – the meaning of Hamnavoe in Old Norse and the school’s motto.

Headteacher Helen Robertson said: “Our pupils benefited so much from this project.

“They were so engaged and motivated to work with the designer and loved the workshops and the fresh approach Jono brought to their art and design learning.

“Parents have reported that pupils are excited about art and are drawing and sketching at home, wanting drawing books, sharing their drawings with friends and family.

“The mural is so eye-catching and is so welcoming. It has been a great experience for everyone involved.”

Sandilands said it was a “great honour” to work with the bairns, which started with a series of online workshops.

“We explored the local environment and dreamt of the future, designing shapes and letters to inspire the mural,” he added.

“Painting in autumn came with its challenges. The bairns, staff and parents at the school kept my spirits up with words of encouragement.

“It is heart warming to be able to hear first hand how the community has taken to the artwork. Thanks especially to the painting support group including my family and the mighty Gaada team.”

He also said it is “hard to describe the buzzing of ideas caused by the mentorship by Cobalt Collective”.

The entrance artwork follows three other murals installed in the grounds which resulted from collaboration between Gaada and the school’s 86 pupils.