The Making of the Lion Mural

It started three weeks ago in our grade eight art class when we began talking
about the basics. What's a trompe l'oeil? What's original typography? What
should the lion look like?
Our minds were full of curiosity and excitement when
Ms. Ann launched this new project challenge in art class. The process began by
forming groups of three to create design proposals. The first lesson with our
groups was all about coming up with individual ideas and learning our groupmates'
strengths. We delegated leadership roles for the 1) the lion depiction; 2) the
typography and 3) the trompe l'oeil effects. Ms. Ann held small group workshops
to allow each artist to develop and practice skills and techniques in their designated domain.

Using, pencil, watercolor, ink, markers, and collage, each group found their
own way to combine different ideas together to create a rough draft. Next,
we got feedback from Ms. Ann and fellow artists about how we might improve.
We considered various things that could be added or taken away to make our
ideas even better.

After the edits, we started working on the real proposal. The next two classes
challenged us to bring our best quality of work, full concentration, and
collaboration to bring our beautiful ideas for the mural to life. Another round
of workshops taught us different techniques: to use markers as watercolors;
various tips for using trompe l'oeil to create 3D optical illusions, and references
for text ideas were taught so that our final drafts could be our very best.

The last stage took place when we finished our final drafts, and this was the
hardest part! We had to bring all of the ideas together in order to create the
most beautiful mural ever! We conducted a collaborative critique to assess which
elements were the strongest and how the composition might include them.
Our classes all gathered together around all the final proposals as Ms. Ann
listened to our opinions about which elements should be chosen for the mural.
It sounded like this:

"Which lion best suits the installation site?" "We like the face on this one, but we
like how this one is half-hidden by the wall." "These eyes are powerful and realistic."

After two days of exploring options and decision-making, we had a final
Photoshopped plan from the mural created by Ms. Ann. We had achieved a
plan that incorporated most teams ideas in some way while celebrating Ghana,
its textiles, coastal location, and our LCS house colors, Now, it was time to
create it!

During the first class at the wall, some artists primed the concrete board, while
others calculated the scale factor from the sketch to map out the large color
block areas using chalk. The Ghanaian flag stripes, the lion's face and mane,
the sea waves, and sky. Within this one class, we also started painting. We each
had jobs; two paint the red, two paint the green, two work on the lion, and so
on. The next class came along to add values. Finally, classes added details and
patterns. There was always a class or a group of people near the mural, working
on making it better and better. Mr. Moh used his great graffiti skills to create the
gorgeous lion and allowed some of us to help with spray paint.

All eighth grade (and even a couple seventh and fifth-grade kids) put in tons
of effort to get precise details. Mr. Moh and Ms. Ann kept working hard before
lunch, during lunch, and after school to make it as beautiful as it is. It took
four days in all to be completed.

Each time we pass by the mural, we smile a little. We remember all the things
we learned and all the fun we had when creating the monumental art piece.
Beyond representing our school mascot, the mural represents unity; how
amazing things happen when we all come together. It represents authenticity
and how we're all connected in sharing this time in Ghana. It represents Lincoln
Community School as a diverse community where we achieve marvelous results
when we're a dedicated team, who feels free to create and commit to excellence.

We would love to thank Ms. Ann, for being the one who made all this happen.
Mr. Moh, who contributed so much of his time and effort to help us do this.
Ms. Sheena, for allowing us to put all this together. We'd like to thank the
facilities team for swiftly mounting the panels for us. Finally, we would like to
thank Coral Paints and Acrilex for their generous contribution of all paint
supplies and tools.

We hope all of LCS enjoys our art and embraces the power of public art as a way
to celebrate community.

Story by Arushi Aditi, Shreya Basak, and Krsna Jagtian