“This Mural has inspired me to reach for the stars,” said Keilah Ryan, a 14-year-old student of the Montserrat Secondary School (MSS).
Ryan shared her reflections on the experience of being one of 15 students to work on the first in a series of murals unveiled Monday as part of the Curating Crises Project.
The project, is led by Professor Jenni Barclay of the University of East Anglia, in collaboration with University of Oxford, The Royal Society, The National Archives, The Seismic Research Center and the Montserrat Volcano Observatory.
Students from the MVO Afterschool programme at the MSS were part of the creative activity which was preceded by field trips, and an Easter workshop with the artists from the non-profit organisation, The Goodness Tour who prepared them for the painting project.
Ryan said the students were divided into two groups of eight with one set conducting the filming while the other group did the mural painting and they would alternate this twice a day.
“In Mr. Jerry’s imagination class we learned about awesome ways on how to use AI and how our creative imaginations can become a reality. We also learnt how to use the different types of cameras and how they function and how we can capture any moment in time,” Ryan told the gathering on Monday morning.
“In the thunder clapping mural class of Mr. Ben and Ms. Amanda… we learnt that there are only happy mistakes when it comes to art. We also learned that we could make scribbles and make them into something fascinating. We also discussed how this mural can inspire students to push forward and achieve their goals. Between the different groups we all had our ideas but some didn’t make the final cut. For example the first group decided that the boy should have oriole wings and the other group was like nah we ain’t having that lets put dragon fly wings instead.
“In our last days of deciding our mural we asked ourselves, will this motivate our school mates and friends ? Well, we found it inspirational because this will encourage students to push forward until the very end. This mural has inspired me to reach for the stars. Over the three years that I have been here it’s been like a jungle with different obstacles and challenges that I will face to the very end of MSS. So, I will continue to spread my wings and soar like a butterfly,” the third form student shared.
As part of the Curating Crises Project, murals will also be painted on the Victor’s Supermarket in Davy Hill, Montserrat Port Authority Building and in Salem.
According to the MVO, this research project, explores the impacts of colonialism on the creation and sharing of the scientific knowledge in response to volcanic crises in the Eastern Caribbean; focusing on several volcanic and/or seismic crises in several places, particularly St. Vincent, Dominica and Montserrat and is funded through the UK Research & Innovation department ‘Hidden Stories’ research grant.
“Using roughly a similar approach as we did with the Mountain Aglow project at the primary schools, the “Curating Crises” utilized several artistic/scientific activities, such as mural painting and film-making to impact our community through increasing volcanic risk awareness and bringing to the forefront our rich history, environment and culture,” said an MVO social media post about the project.
The first mural, which can be seen on the side of Block D on the Salem campus was designed by: Keilah Ryan, Hadassah Williams, Amara O’Donoghue, Muskaan Jeswani, Thaisia Hilton, Ronardo Ward, J’alee Bryan, Alyssa Dubery, Tori-Kay Perkins, Neron Wilson, Shekinah Persaud, Nathan Alexander Louis, Joshua Fenton, Sammay Sinclair, and Jordain Gerald.
Made possible through the creative guidance of the artists Benjamin and Amanda from the Goodness Tour, this mural was executed through the kind patronage of Nigel Osborne Enterprise Ltd and Shamrock Industries Ltd..
The MVO plans to release a short documentary made by the students who have been mentored by Jeremiah of the Goodness Tour and Montserratian filmmaker Jerely Browne.