A GROUP of students from Burnscreek Adventist primary school in East Honiara has successfully engaged in a drawing project as part of a cultural exchange program with a school in Japan.
The project called ‘Art Mile Project’ is an international exchange project between Japanese and foreign elementary schools. It is funded each year by Art Mile Japan.
Under the project, the students of the two exchanged schools decide on a theme through discussion and ultimately draw one, huge mural (large drawing) over the course of weeks through exchange ideas and discussions.
Its the first time for the Solomon Islands to have the opportunity to engage in this project.
For this one, the completed mural will be featured and displayed at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics this July where all the athletes around the world will be able to view them.
Other schools around the globe are also engaging in the project.
It’s also part of promoting peace and unity around the world.
In Solomon Islands only Burnscreek primary school was lucky to participate thanks to a Japanese volunteer Genki Iimori who is currently teaching at the school.
Speaking to the paper, Mr. Iimori said after being asked by organisers in Japan last year he decided to discuss it with two primary school teachers; Spencer Tilley and Simeon Bouro Jnr and they managed to engage the grade five students of 2019.
“Burnscreek primary school accepted the offer and so the mural was sent over last year by post,” Mr. Iimori said.
Under the art exchange program students from Kumamoto elementary school first drew the other half of the canvas highlighting some of the Japanese cultural identities such as castle, landscape, Japanese flag, a rainbow, snow, mountains, buildings and so forth.
After completing their part the huge drawing was sent over to the Solomon Islands.
Mr. Iimori said the mural arrived in the country during the last week of October.
“But because the students and teachers were busy with their exams they were unable to work on the project and draw their part,” he said.
Since last year both the local and Japanese students were able to discuss and share ideas.
Mr. Tilley and Mr. Bouro Jnr along with Mr. Iimori were involved in organising the students in sharing of cultures with the Japanese school. This was done through video chat and emails,
Students from both countries were excited to learn about each others’ culture and country.
For most of the Japanese students it was their first time to learn about Solomon Islands, Mr Iimori said.
At the end of last year, the local students then went on their vacation.
Following the start of the 2020 academic year, the students regrouped and brainstormed on what they would draw to complete and connect the other half which was drawn by the Japanese students.
And it took about a week to complete the drawing.
The students’ drawing highlighted Solomon Island’s identity which featured an island, ocean, a war canoe carrying a Japanese flag, river, coconut palms and many more.
The students’ drawing was able to connect the rainbow first drawn by the Kumamoto students.
Following its completion, the mural was sent back to Japan via post fortnight ago.
JICA was kind enough to meet the cost of the postage freight, said Mr. Iimori.
Team leaders for the students Alton Bouro and Reed Patovaki were pleased with the outcome of their drawing.
Mr. Iimori thanked the school administration, students and the two supporting teachers for ensuring the project is a success.
The participating students who are now in grade six are excited about their work and look forward to seeing the mural being featured during Paralympics Games in Tokyo mid this year.
By MOFFAT MAMU