Last year, the ten young artists who participated in the Young Artists Group ESA completed a mural (a wall painting) on the side of the Inge Building, 2012-13’s effort to increase the on-campus art here at YIS. The goal of our group continues to be to use and showcase our creativity, skills, and knowledge to make Yokohama International School OUR school by adding something of ourselves to it — and to make everyone’s day here on campus a bit more interesting and enjoyable. YIS is not just a place where we come to learn; it’s also where we spend so much time with our friends, playing and talking and having fun. We want our murals to represent both ourselves as students and Japan, the country we all live in.
Our new mural is on the wall at the bottom of the outdoor stairway leading from the ES level up to the main building and library. There was already a mural there, and it used to look like this:
It was made some years back by YIS students (a number of whom are still here at school!). The existing artwork had some simple colors — early green and brown with a light blue sky above — painted on the concrete wall by the YIS caretakers, as well as many colorful ceramic sculptures adhered to the wall to evoke a landscape. These clay sculptures were created by kindergarten students (many of whom are now in Grade 6!).
In our ESA, the young artists decided to incorporate these clay sculptures into their new landscape idea, and so the ceramic pieces have been left intact. But it was decided that a better background picture could be created — something more interesting and representative of Japan. And so last year part of our Session 3 ESA time was spent preparing the wall by painting it with a permanent white paint, being careful not to cover the existing sculptures. The other part of our ESA time together was spent addressing the big challenge before us: What new image will we paint on the wall?
Realizing that the wall is part of our entire school and is for the enjoyment of the entire school community (students, teachers, parents, staff, and our visitors) the young artists had many discussions about what would be appropriate to represent. We focused the mural as a landscape with Japan as a theme, including incorporating a traditional Japanese pattern, and then — after much brainstorming and back and forth — finally voted for the five most important ideas to represent in the mural: Mt. Fuji, sakura, shinkansen, ocean waves, and cats.
Last year’s artists produced two proposed illustrations of what the mural might look like (see this blog post for details) and submitted their ideas via videos to some of the YIS administrators. By the end of last year, the Young Artists Group had their feedback and completed the illustrated design for the new mural.
Now this year’s new Young Artists Group has drawn the illustration onto the wall (using a laborious but accurate grid system) and has begun painting the colors. Stay tuned for more updates!