The Bemboka School & Community Mural, co-ordinated by the Bemboka P&C Association, with materials funded by Mumbulla Foundation, and many thousands of hours of help given by members of the local community, is to be opened on 30th November 2003.
Covering over 17sq.metres and comprising 12 panels standing 1.2m high, the mural will be installed in the Bemboka Memorial Park adjacent to the Anzac Memorial, Snowy Mountains Highway, Bemboka, the western gateway to the picturesque Bega Valley in south-east NSW.
The aims of this project have been to unify the community in creating a mural that will benefit both residents and visitors, to beautify and add interest to Bemboka's streetscape, and to provide an arts project for the children of Bemboka that will instil pride in their achievements and in their town.
In the early stages of the project, the children heard stories from long-time residents of the Bemboka area, who shared childhood memories with them. Members of the Koori community captivated the children with stories of the Yuin Nation and indigenous activity in the Bemboka area in the past, as well as telling them about local bush tucker (including selections from the school grounds).
Inspired, the children then used these stories, photos of the Bemboka area, and other resource material to create pencil drawings. Drawings selected for the mural were traced or projected onto a series of panels that had been prepared by volunteer artists and helpers from the community.
The children took part in a series of colour-mixing sessions, where they learned the fine art of creating a multitude of new colours from a few! Over 80 students then painted their drawings during school hours as part of their visual art classes, being assisted by artists and other volunteers. They adapted quickly to the nature of the materials they had to work with, and their enthusiasm and artistic performance was ample reward for the large number of volunteer helpers. The children's paintings combine to create a visually stimulating and thought-provoking representation of life in and around Bemboka. This is framed at the top by the stunning outline of the local mountain-scape and the passing of time over a day, portrayed by the rising sun at one end moving through to sunset and the night-sky at the other end of the mural. The lower section features handprints of the children of the school, Playgroup, Pre-School and babies of the community interspersed with indigenous-themed drawings.
The community was consulted about the design and location of the mural, asked to assist with the children's painting sessions, and invited to view the mural on two weekends. During school hours, people were often seen visiting the school to view the mural in progress.
It was easy to become engaged by this project, and no matter how much time you spent with it, there was always something there that you had not seen before!
The process has been documented with digital video, scrapbooks and photos. In the future, the older school children will be involved in surveying the community and visitors to the area to help gauge the success of this project.
An event in which the children will reveal their long awaited creation, the opening of the Bemboka School & Community Mural is an integral part of this year long project. It is the once-in-a-lifetime chance for the community to pat the children on the back (en-masse) and in doing so, secure the children's pride.
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|'Our Children are our Future', the last panel of the Bemboka School & Community Mural|