Classic artwork to adorn wall

Morpeth's KEVI High School student Eve Harper (15) works on a mural at the school.
Morpeth's KEVI High School student Eve Harper (15) works on a mural at the school.

MORPETH school students have come up with a colourful creation after getting support from an award-winning artist.

They have drawn and painted a mural with an ancient religion theme in a project organised by the King Edward VI School Classics department.

Groups of pupils were given their own section of the piece to complete and images from the Roman, Egyptian and Greek periods, among others, have been included by the high school students, with support from pupils of the town’s two middle schools, Chantry and Newminster.

Overseeing operations was Graham Hodgson of Hawthorn Arts, who beat off hundreds of other hopefuls to win the inaugural Britain’s Got Artists competition earlier this year.

Alex Browell, Catherine Moore, Rosie Podbur and Shoam Backe, all Year 10 students at KEVI, painted the heads of Greek god Aphrodite, Roman god Minerva and an Indian god, as well as a forum and golden rams.

Rosie said: “It was quite a fun experience and very useful for us because the artist told us when our work was good and when it wasn’t of the right standard. I appreciated his honesty.

“I’m excited about seeing the complete mural on one of the school walls because it looks really good.”

Catherine added: “We’ve used acrylic paint, pens and smudging techniques and I’ve learned a lot from this project. At the start, we tried to cram too much in, but as the week went on we worked very well as a team and it’s coming along nicely.”

Year 11 pupil Edward Hantman helped the middle school students to feel comfortable in what they were doing and did a few bits himself.

“I’m not very arty but Graham managed to find things for me to do, such as painting the mosaics and backgrounds with brush strokes and sponges,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed mentoring the Chantry and Newminster pupils, who have worked really well, and it’s been amazing to see the mural come together.”

Jonathan Farooqi, Adam Blower and Laura Chishti, Year 6 students at Chantry, painted the sky in one of the top corners, including clouds and a rainbow, as well as clothing for the goddesses.

Adam said: “There was a bit of pressure to make sure we didn’t make a mistake with the paintings, but we really enjoyed it.”

Mr Hodgson, based in South Shields, directed the high school’s Roman Britain themed mural project two years ago. He said: “The pupils here are easy to work and interact with and I’ve seen quite a few talented artists. I’ve also been impressed by their willingness to take things on board.

“It’s good for them to have a professional artist come into school and spend a decent amount of time with them to help their development. I’ve given them advice on areas such as form, shape and composition that they may not have thought of before.”

The piece includes an image of a Roman god local to the North East, Antenociticus. The remains of a small temple to him can be seen at Benwell on Hadrian’s Wall and the head of the original statue is now in the Great North Museum in Newcastle.

KEVI Head of Classics Clare-Marie Roxby said: “The students have been brilliant and you can tell that they really wanted to work on the mural because they came along during their free time.”

“It’s nice that there will be a lasting testament for their efforts. It was also good to see the KEVI students help the middle school pupils with their painting and research.”