By Bejay Browne
A PAPHOS-BASED artist has kick-started her latest community project, which encourages school pupils across the entire district to produce original mosaics depicting the area.
The project has already been submitted to the committee of ‘Pafos 2017’ for consideration, as part of the official programme of upcoming events for the coastal town’s title of European capital of culture 2017- which it shares with Aarhus in Denmark.
Artist Mary Chojnowski has been working with children at the Evagoras Pallikaridis Primary School in Paphos to help them produce a number of unique pieces.
She said: “The school decided to work with the theme of Cyprus’ nature and unique species. The children designed their own ideas before turning them into mosaic art.”
Chojnowski says subjects depicted in one large mosaic include Cyprus’ endemic and unique species such as, moufflon, springtime tulips, cyclamen flowers, eagles and golden oak trees. Smaller mosaics feature well known Cyprus birds and flowers like the warbler, the hoopoe, the bee orchid and the wild iris.
“The mosaics are all the children’s own work from the design to grouting. They are colourful, innocent and full of energy.” She continued: “I loved the nature theme of this project. Children need to learn to understand and treasure their environment and protect it; art projects like this help to reinforce that.”
The entire school – 330 or so pupils from the 1st to 6th grade – and all of the teachers have contributed to the project which will be put up around the children’s play area.
School head Niki Tooulia said the project was thoroughly worthwhile and had a positive effect on the participants: “The project was a very interesting experience for the whole school. The pupils really loved the process and had a great experience which they will remember their entire lives.”
Teacher Aphrodite Charalambous said the process sparked interest and enthusiasm in all of the pupils. “Working with Mary was a great experience for the children and they loved her and her work.”
Chojnowski, who has worked extensively on community art in Paphos for the last four years, says that projects like this will help to represent the area to the world.
“There are some really artistically talented young people and teachers in Paphos. They deserve to show their creativity to the world as part of the 2017 culture capital celebrations.”
According to the artist, members of both BirdLife Cyprus and ‘Pafos 2017’ committee were supportive of the nature-inspired mosaics. She hopes this will increase the chance of introducing other Paphos schools to join in further mosaic projects for 2017.
Mary Chojnowski 99595385 or email, [email protected] .