The University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus, together with “4koulerurgrafik”, a team of muralists from Guadeloupe, has painted a peace mural on the outer walls of the Gordon and Walcott Memorial Methodist School. The project was done under the theme “Arts for Social Change Project”.
The project falls on the calendar of activities in observance of the Nobel Laureate Week, which has as its theme this year, “Youth and Community: Fostering Social Inclusion Through Peace and Security”. The aim of this year’s activities has been to instill in the youth the need for peace and security and to find other avenues where they can channel their energies and creativity.
In attendance at Tuesday morning’s official launch of the colourful mural were the Governor- General and Chairperson of the Nobel Laureate Week Committee, Dame Pearlette Louisy; Minister for Tourism and Creative Industries, Lorne Theophilus; Head of UWI Open Campus, Veronica Simon; District Two Education Officer, Martha Foster, and the representatives of the project’s sponsors.
The Gordon and Walcott Memorial Methodist School is the recipient of the first of many planned peace murals. The project started last Saturday. Similar projects will be done across the island in due time within a one-year period as the Nobel Laureate Committee visits other communities around the island.
In her remarks, Simon told the audience, “The UWI Open Campus is extremely pleased to be one of the driving forces behind this project as a proponent of the view that the visual arts have a strong influence on the development of a mature society. We are dedicated to the instigation and design of any project which would move us towards this goal.”
Simon went on to say that “art is viewed as a universal language that speaks to people no matter the class or culture with its message”. Simon further indicated that “the creation of community art in the form of murals often depicts the essence of that community how it defines itself; community murals often feature the history or achievements of that community and its citizens”.
Simon continued by saying that “art has the power to heal and we should allow it to heal the invisible wounds of a community by dwelling on the positive messages”.
Foster, in her brief remarks, stated: “Research has revealed that school murals positively impact students attendance and punctuality.”
Meanwhile, Governor General Louisy made reference to the theme of the Nobel Laureate Week and what led to choosing such a theme. She made mention of the “Caribbean Human Development Report”, “which spoke of the increase in violent crime in the Caribbean and the effect it was having on the youth.” The second reason for the theme was this year being 100 years since the First World War.
“The committee thought it fitting to use peace as the basis of its theme, after a workshop conducted by the UWI Open Campus which brought about ‘Art for Social Change Project’, with the collaboration of “4koulerurgrafik” together with the sponsorship of Alliance Française and directorship of Kentillia Louis, came up with the idea of painting peace murals throughout the length and breadth of the island,” the governor general said.
In ending her message, she encouraged everyone to keep this year’s Nobel Laureate Week in mind throughout the year and not just for the week alone.
The children from the Gordon and Walcott Methodist School choir sang a song entitled “Merci” to the muralists from Guadeloupe as the ceremony came to a close.
With such an imitative the hope is for all Saint Lucians, especially the youth to keep the peace in their hearts and minds. It is a message that all concerned transcends throughout Saint Lucia as the island continues to record increased incidents of violence.