Today it is raining cats and dogs so I’m not up scaffold, in west sun, baking like a honey bun. This fortnight has tested most of my faculties: I’ve been many stories high painting an epic mural on a tight (self imposed) deadline. I’ve woken at 5.15 week days to avoid traffic so I can land in the epicentre of the Gold Coast unscathed. And lastly, my poodle cross was poisoned; to the point that on a Sunday night I was in Emergency with him praying like a sinner. Believe me when I tell you that I am back from the brink.
Duncan (the poodle cross) may have kissed a toad but it turned into a prince. I may have dabbled in base mettle but it turned to gold. This week’s spoils include one of the boldest murals to date and a dog so frisky he is playing with something foul he’s dug up like he is the leopard seal and it is the penguin. It takes a lot of pressure to create a diamond. So, let me tell you about Benowa School. You know how apprehensive I was about dipping my toe into liquid Gold. Well, this school, a thousand pupils strong, has taught me a very practical lesson. The jewel in the Coast’s crown, Benowa is the most multi cultural school I have ever had the pleasure to paint. Principal Michael Josey is setting the pace in an inclusive, happy and intelligent race … I can say this because, without question, there is harmony amongst his troops. I can’t speak for the parents, the evidence is in the delight and solidarity of the children’s relationships. The mural depicts the Gold Coast skyscrapers skirting the ocean, it then stretches west via developed suburbs, including Benowa, Carrara and to the ridge of Lamington National Park. Drifting like snowflakes in the sky are children from many countries, holding on to ribbons attached to balloons that are in fact Planet Earths. They are drifting towards a goal: a pile of books that represent Benowa School. Two leaders, a boy and a girl straddle airborne King Parrots, a male and female. Both Australian, but from far flung origins, both sharing their knowledge with humanity. The books represent universal knowledge. On top of the pile is an open book. The school's motto is Empowering Life Long Learners. There is a message in that. What I witnessed last week are children of many denominations looking up at the children I have painted and recognising friends in their class … as friends. It gives me hope and a reason to keep climbing. Adults please take note.