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Shannon School

Region: Wellington

Art form: Visual Arts

Project name: A journey through time in Shannon – He haerenga tahi o tenei rohe o Hanana

Creative name: Wendy Hodder

Project information: Our project focuses on the history of Shannon: the land (whenua), the river (awa), and the people (tangata), alongside the values of the school community (pride, courage, caring, effort, unity) and the principles of Enviroschools (empowering students, zero waste, living landscapes, water for life, Māori perspectives, learning sustainability, and respect for diversity). 

We will create murals to bring colour and interest to our school environment and to teach about creative processes and art forms. This will involve all the students, teachers, and numerous community members working with our creative to learn, plan, and contribute both ideas and mahi in ways that are relevant to their ages and abilities. Looking into the stories of creation from a Māori perspective provides rich visual material and a guide to the creative process itself. We will also form connections with the stories and knowledge of local whānau, hapū and iwi, as our kaumatua will invite relevant speakers as the journey unfolds. We will look at Māori art forms and how they reflect the energies of nature, as well as investigating the use of line and form, tone and texture, composition , and colour and learning techniques for drawing and painting. 

The project will follow a form that relates to a fundamental understanding of the Māori world, beginning with Te Kore, the nothingness, which contains the potential for everything, through Te Pō, nurturing the seeds of creation in the fertile darkness, to the first glimmer of light, and Te Ao Mārama, the world of light … and life … tihei mauri ora. We will also investigate how we can cultivate and utilise this energy of life in our art. This form allows us to relate this cycle of darkness and light to our inner processes as artists as well as to the form of the murals taking shape. Looking at the characteristics of ngā atua also offers ways to incorporate values and virtues and to consider how we may portray these visually in our daily lives. 

By engaging with the people, land, and local history, we will weave together many strands of understanding of the past as a guide for future choices. Images of nature will be a feature of the murals, as features of this area were deep forest, rivers, and extensive wetlands. There is a clear progression over time from forest to flax to farming – harakeke also features in our school motto and symbolises our values. We will take the students to visit the forest and the river as well as local murals (by our creative) which are directly based on these themes, so we can make connections between what we see and feel and how it can be represented visually. A focus of the project is to learn about the past, but we will also look into the future of how we all—iwi, farmers, workers, the school—can co-exist with the land in a sustainable existence.

Project starting: March 2022

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