Hillwood Primary School hosts an Art exhibition in Lavender Hill

Imagine the thrill of going to an Art exhibition of children's artwork only AND then imagine the elation of attending an Historic first Art Exhibition hosted by Hillwood Primary School in Lavender Hill.
Hillwood art students posing with Zain ( far left), Rachel Claassen, the principal (centre) and  volunteer  German students
Zain, the art teacher of the group of learners who had never drawn or painted before, explained how the art group started.

Rachel and Eunice admiring the artworks
  “ I started with 7 learners and then the group grew to 57”, said Zain proudly. “ Now the group has 19 regular artists.  I don’t tell them what to draw; I allow their imaginations to dictate what appears on the page. I started playing Kenny G songs for them at the beginning, trying to create a calming atmosphere. There is lots of trauma in Lavender Hill and these learners have so many odds against them. But look at their masterpieces. I am privileged to have them as part of the art group.”

Zain and his charges who produced and hosted their first art exhibition
Here we have the artists and their proud parents
How humbling.  Zain explained that he wanted to give back to the community because he was helped by the community organization, New World Foundation, himself. He wants to help make a difference and help to shape the world of the learners so that they can find their gifts, their talents and seek opportunities beyond their grey world.  There we sat with the parents of our young artists, enjoying the kaleidoscope of drawings and paintings.

Rachel, the principal of Hillwood, was also overwhelmed. This was her dream – to exhibit the artworks of her learners. Rachel praised her learners and urged them to continue growing their artistic talents. She reminded the parents that they have our most precious children who have to be nurtured and supported unconditionally.

Hillwood Staff from Left: Kathy, Mark, Lionel, Eunice, Rachel and Maria
Then the most magnanimous act of selfless giving unfolded before our eyes. The learners’ artwork was going to be donated to two health centres: The Retreat Day Hospital and the Lavender Hill clinic. Rachel explained that these two beneficiaries deserve to be blessed with the colourful artworks. She noticed that whenever she took learners to either the Day hospital or the Lavender Hill clinic, she noticed how dull and morbid both places are.  People sit there with their aches and pains and the atmosphere of the place adds to their depression. 
One of the artists handing over the artwork to the Lavender Hill  Clinic delegate

“Let’s brighten up these spaces for our community with the artworks of our own children. Let us show the Lavender Hill community that we care for all and by doing that, we are also instilling pride in our children who will see their works displayed in public, to be enjoyed for all, implored Rachel.”

Here Retreat Day Hospital delegate (right)receives one of the artworks
Such moments melt my heart. Here again we can see how Rachel and her staff are working tirelessly to give their charges a head start in life.  Here I am reminded of Al Pacino’s heartrending speech in the movie, Any Given Sunday. Al Pacino tells his football team:  “ The margin for error is so small… the inches we need are everywhere around us… On this team we fight for that inch. When we add up all the inches, that is going to make the difference between winning and losing, between living and dying”… Either we heal now as a team or we die as individuals. That’s football (substitute with life), guys, that’s all it is.”

Yebo. Inch by inch, schools like Hillwood with the support of New World Foundation, are creating shifts to change the Lavender Hill landscape.


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