AFTER many months of hard work, Abbeyleix South School last week unveiled their new artwork, entitled ‘Welcome to Our World’. This artwork was funded under the Department of Education and Skills Percent for Art Scheme.
The carved artwork was completed by Caroline Conway, a well established and local professional artist. Caroline who works with a variety of subject matter has concentrated her practice in this project on visual storytelling. In collaboration with the children of the school, the finished artwork captures the rich culture, social heritage, architecture and character of Abbeyleix, it’s children and the surrounding areas.
It is rich in symbolism, imagery, nature, historical and geographical aspects inspired by the location and personalised by the children of the South School. The artwork is situated in the hallway of the new school, and everyone from the community is invited to come and visit.
The Leinster Express visited the school and was given a tour of the piece by a very enthusiastic third class, while second class pupils showed the original drawings, which were the seeds of the finished piece. The children talked about different elements of the piece, and each of the vibrant panels tell the story of the childrens’ world and everything in it.
A number of local landmarks are featured in the piece, including the old South School building, Abbeyleix Library, local churches and monuments, as well as local businesses such as Morrisseys, Morans, Fyffes, and the Abbeyleix Manor Hotel. There are also a number of farming scenes, images of the childrens’ pet cats and dogs, and some of their houses.
Of course activities in the school play a pivotal part of the piece and all the childrens’ activities are included, such as cooking, chess, swimming, the school tour, art, music, and the many sports the children participate in. The children told the Leinster Express that they really like the piece, “because we see something new every day”.
The project is a colourful reminder of the school’s ethos and activities. A large crowd turned out for the launch during which school principal praised all involved in helping bring the project to fruition. These included artist Caroline Conway, project co-ordinator Rina Whyte, the committee involved and all the children who provided the inspiration. “We’re very proud of our pupils’ input and we’re so grateful to Caroline for creating such a beautiful and captivating artwork for us and future generations to enjoy”.