One of the first free schools for black children in Barbados has recognized some of its ‘sons of the soil’ in mural form.
The father of Spouge, Jackie Opel; Cultural Ambassador, Dr. Anthony “Gabby” Carter, National Hero, The Right Excellent Samuel Jackman Prescod, and veteran entertainer, Richard Stoute, were all immortalized in a mural at the St. Mary’s Primary School at Mason Hall Street, The City.
The mural, which was commissioned by the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training as part of its pilot mural project, featured the outstanding icons who all attended the City school.
Last Friday, murals created by four artists – Kwami Hunte, Don Small, Nikolai Charles and Sherry Nicholls, were revealed at the Grantley Adams Memorial Secondary School at Blackman’s, St. Joseph.
Another two murals will be unveiled at another secondary school and one special school during Education Month. The mural at St. Mary’s Primary was painted by Mr. Small and Mr. Charles.
Minister of Education, Santia Bradshaw, said the mural presentation was a symbolic demonstration of some of the transformations which will take place in the education system.
She added that the mural was significant because of the “powerful” messages it conveyed about the dual roles that education and the arts played in uplifting society and the nation.
She said while government had placed “great emphasis” on the importance of technological development in schools and the nation, the arts also served as “powerful reminders of Barbadians’ core identity”.
“St. Mary’s Primary is not only a strategically placed institution in the heart of one of our city communities but it is a school which was founded on principles of progress and development, since it was one of the first schools opened for free coloured children in the 1800’s. We welcome the opportunity as a Ministry, therefore, to celebrate this history and the accomplishments of this school, through its inclusion in our pilot mural project facilitated by our team of local artists.
“We have chosen four schools for murals this year and welcome the opportunity to beautify these learning spaces, while at the same time promoting the value of the arts. Each school also presents us with the added opportunity of promoting its uniqueness and culture, as we seek to use these public murals as vehicles for telling the ongoing stories of these institutions,” Ms. Bradshaw emphasized.
The Education Minister added that the icons represented in the mural transformed the social and cultural landscape of Barbados and paved the way for others to follow.
Ms. Bradshaw said the Ministry remained committed to beautifying all schools since physical and social environments play a pivotal role in student learning.
“Over the next few weeks, we hope to have the entire painting job completed on St. Mary’s Primary, so that this school’s décor is befitting of an institution with such a rich sense of history and with so much to offer to its surrounding districts and to our nation at large. Through its students, principals and teachers, St. Mary’s has contributed much to Barbados and we acknowledge that through this mural presentation today,” she stated.