As the country's 50th Independence anniversary looms, the pupils of Barataria South Secondary School found their own way to express their national pride by painting a set of murals. Displayed predominately on the walls surrounding the school hall, the murals were drawn and painted by pupils from as young as 12 years old all the way up to 17. All seeking to win and score top points for their school house — Ruby, Sapphire, Amethyst and Emerald — the pupils were given approximately two months to create a concept for the mural and then execute it. Incorporating the country's national colours of red, white and black along with their house colours, pupils from the various houses along with their house captains were asked to further depict the Independence Day theme with either a word/topic from a national song or artwork on our national heroes and must also include a brief written explanation of their mural.
"I felt this was an important exercise for the children. It is my hope that this will help achieve a greater house spirit, encourage a greater feeling of pride and belonging in the school as well an appreciation of the environment and in wanting to see and make it beautiful," said vice principal of the school, Sharlene Hicks-Raeburn.
"I am always trying to find things that are creative for the kids that would give them an opportunity to express themselves as well as their talents," she added.
According to Hicks-Raeburn the judging criteria for the mural is as follows:
Use of house colour
Portrayal of national hero/emblem
Interpretation of 50th anniversary of Independence
As part of the judging criteria each house was asked to give a brief description of their mural. The Ruby House was fortunate with their house colour being red which seemed an easy fit for the Independence Day theme. Their mural was titled the "Patriot". According to the brief description given, patriotism goes beyond waving a flag or indentifying yourself as a Trinidadian or Tobagonian. It is the very essence of hardworking, ambitious, motivated student excelling at a variety of disciplines be it sports, art, music, dance or academics. The mural shows a faceless Barataria Secondary School student wearing a gold medal, positioned centre with hands lifted holding our national flag. The Sapphire House had to incorporate the colour blue into their Independence Day theme. Their mural titled "50 years of unity and excellence", showcased some of Trinidad and Tobago's national heroes and role models including the late Dr Eric Williams, Miss Universe 1977 Janelle Commissiong, Miss Universe 1998 Wendy Fitzwilliam and calypsonian Aldwyn Roberts, "Lord Kitchener". They also wanted to highlight the unity that exists within the various sectors of our society regardless of colour, creed or race by artistically merging the pan and sitar.
The colour purple belongs to Amethyst House. They chose the country's national anthem to portray the theme and highlighted some key elements that identified Trinidad and Tobago and what makes us unique. Taking the words "Side by side we stand, islands of the blue Caribbean Sea" as sung in the national anthem, the Amethyst House hoped to express the unity that exists in our nation despite the many ethnic groups. They also wanted to showcase the beauty of our land. Our national birds were predominantly displayed along with the hummingbird which represented the land called Iere that Christopher Columbus met in 1948.
Using the colour green, Emerald House found a way to merge their house colour into their Independence Day theme. There mural titled "50 years coming into your own" showcased an opened book with a map of Trinidad and Tobago, the Scarlet Ibis and our national flag.
According to Hicks-Raeburn the winners will be announced in September.