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Growing without limits at New Quay National School

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LAST May I met with artist Richard Hearns in his garden near Bellharbour and I really was struck by his remarkable sense of positivity despite being an artist in the midst of a pandemic.
Perusing a beautifully illustrated catalogue I discovered that the Cadogan Contemporary Gallery in London organised a series of Richard’s works to be shown during the summer.
The exhibition entitled ‘Enclave’ described by Richard as a ‘territory marked out not by traditional lines, borders and language but by something beyond these bounds -colour!
This is exactly what we need these days – more colour in our lives.
That day on behalf of New Quay Community Development Group I asked Richard to create a concept for a mural for our community on New Quay National School’s ‘Shelter’ wall.
A few days later Richard responded with a brilliant concept based around ideas of ‘Growth’.
He told me how he thought about the holistic growth of a child. How their body, mind, soul and spirit might be fed and nourished by their surroundings and community.
The teachers at the school were very open to the concept and at this stage we invited online feedback from the community.
Using the collected feedback and basing the design on the above concept Richard set about the visual journey initially through an oil painting. He then used this oil painting as a visual guide for the mural proper.
Clare County Council has offered €520 through the Arts Community Scheme grant which will help to cover some of the materials necessary to complete this large wall measuring 4160mm in width and 3550mm to the highest point.
Richard described the resulting mural as a pictorial theme of sowing seeds.
He marked this growth through the medium of paint, colour, line and form.
Richard also gained great technical advice from his friend and street artist James Kirwin who provided pivotal help in realising this project.
The mural at New Quay National School certainly steps outside the traditional box. To many it is a symbol of joyous growth especially with its multitude of colours.
It bravely represents the idea that we are all still growing, and in a way, we are somewhat like unfinished pieces of art or an unfinished puzzle even.
Just like the children passing into school every day they too are growing in knowledge, growing physically and of course even after leaving school they continue growing in some way or another.
Richard’s belief and respect for the multitude of ideas that can be presented as he says, “by the landscape, sea, sky and the heavens by which we are all nourished” oozes throughout the mural.
If you get an opportunity, pause, perhaps even sit down and quietly take it in. You will discover a wonderful place without borders or limitations.
For Culture Night on September 17, New Quay Community Development with the support of Clare Arts Office plans to stream video /photo footage of the creation of this mural provided by Ballyvaughan-based videographer, John O’Connor.

by Ellie Farrell

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