The Future Is Coming: The Making Of A Mural

21 September 2022

This article first appeared in the Village Pump, 16 September 2022.  Article acknowledgement: Pia Robinson.

future is coming

worlds will turn and change, skies filled

with rainbows and love

Haiku by Shona

On 10th September 2022, during a very busy and colourful Samford State School Spring Festival, a quiet happening occurring with momentous impact. Samford’s first major public artwork was launched as part of the Samford State School 150-year celebrations.

This is no ordinary mural, this artwork, which is situated at the entrance of the school library, was ignited from a family tree and history from 1930s where school, students, teaching and Principals were quite different.

The instigator of this project is local cultural producer, Pia Robinson, Founder of The Culture Crusader. Her husband’s great- grandmother, Winfred Hine, was a schoolteacher at Samford State School and great-grandfather was ex-Principal Harry Hine who contributed to the foundations of what Samford has become today (helping get the Bowls Club off the ground, planting a number of Pine Trees in the school grounds with the intention to sell the wood to allow for more students to access education – they have grown to become a grove of towering trees still in the grounds). He also dished out the cane and was a very strict father to his daughter, Shirley Kenman (nee Hine).

Being the Principal’s daughter was no easy life back in the 1930s and 1940s.

So now, with Pia’s own children attending Samford State School decades on (who are the great-great grandchildren of Harry and Winifred Hine) she wanted to develop a meaningful engagement that connected to the truth-telling of the past whilst also being relevant to the present and looking to the possibilities of the future.

The result was an artist-in-residence program involving two incursions (and lots of mess making) at Samford State School with local artist, Dr Sally Molloy and year 6 students. Dr Molloy is a local multi-disciplinary artist. Her practice explores her relationship with place and time by interrogating colonial legacy through art history and Australian landscape traditions.

During the program, year 6 students participated in artist-led workshops, reflecting on this significant year for the school and for them (being their final year of Primary School) – what this means to them – by exploring the past, present and future of the school, Samford and beyond, through artmaking.

One of the activities involved students writing a Haiku (a form of Japanese poetry made of short, unrhymed lines that evoke natural imagery) to the students of the future, with one of these selected to frame the artwork:

earth earth, so peaceful

so colourful and special

you couldn’t be better

Haiku by Cameron

Not only was this engagement transformational for the participating students, teachers and wider school community, but the legacy outcome of this program has resulted in a mural at the library entrance titled Imagining the Future of this Land Filled with Smoke and Hope, that reflects the thoughts and feelings and magical motifs of our year 6 students, interwoven with references to relevant archival photography, and Joseph Lycett’s Aborigines Hunting Kangaroos with Fire (1817). Namely, the mural borrows and extends Lycett’s smoke motif as one visible sign of First Nations peoples making, managing, and caring for their sovereign lands. The smoke motif (plumes of blue) can be seen in the mural emerging through all of time, which plays out as a loosely chronological but non-linear and open-ended reel from left to right. The mural aims to capture a sense of place and time (the past, the present, and the future on Aboriginal lands) marked by imminent change, hope, and new life. for the whole school community to enjoy.

Some of the artworks created by the year 6 students will be part of the Moreton Bay Youth Art Awards, and an exhibition at the Arana Hills Library for the month of November 2022.

This initiative is part of Samford State School 150 Year Celebrations and has only been made possible through a Community Bank Samford ‘2022 Samford and Pine Rivers Community Grants Program’ on behalf of Samford State School P&C.

Imagining the Future of this Land Filled with Smoke and Hope, 2022

Sally Molloy (in collaboration with Year 6 students from 2022)

Acrylic latex paint on concrete

Photographers: Pia Robinson, Toby Scott and Adam Nicholas.

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