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School given gift of collaborative art

Paintings produced by Wellington-based artist Jenny Keate in collaboration with young people from Te Kura o te Paetūmokai [Featherston School] were gifted to the school in a recent formal ceremony.

The artwork, which was part of Keate’s ‘Looking Sideways’ exhibition at Aratoi Art and History Museum, now takes pride of place in the school’s main reception area.

Hau Ariki marae kaumātua Wiremu Dawson led the whole school in a mihi whakatau to welcome the paintings into the school.

The students first worked with Keate during a planting day in the Waihinga bush in collaboration with Ruamāhanga Mauri Oho and Ruamāhanga Restoration Trust.

After their planting day, the tamariki [children] were asked to write about their experience and Keate then used those words as part of her art.

Featherston School principal Gina Smith said in her speech at the welcoming event that she was proud of the tamariki and their efforts – especially when art or writing are not their interests.

“Sometimes a classroom is not their thing, but the whenua [land] is. This is something that we have to come to terms with in education, and this proves it,” she said.

The children’s words and photographs of the paintings were also sent to London, where they inspired another group of young people from the environmental education charity Global Generation to produce their own art.

One of the paintings was also used as a poster for the River of Hope community festival held in North London.

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