Students from LiverpoolBoysHighSchool collaborated with LiverpoolCouncil and LiverpoolPlaza to create a mural to commemorate the centenary of the World War I Armistice.
This Sunday will mark 100 years since the day when a peace settlement was reached after four brutal years of warfare.
Liverpool Boys High School community officer Jessica Khoury told Fairfax Media that 13 students were selected for the art project – some with distant relatives involved in World War I and others who’d come from war-torn countries.
“Because we are an established member of this community we have so many students with families associated or affected by World War I and this is our way of showing respect,” she said.
“We’ve also had other students involved from other cultures who’d experienced war themselves.”
Liverpool Boys High School was selected to take part in the project by the council.
“The council and Liverpool Plaza contacted us because they thought it would be a good opportunity for us to be included. Our students already did the Visions of Peace installations.
“They asked if we had students suitable so we our creative students to do a workshop with the artist, Cameron Wall.
“He went through the design with the students and got their suggestions and when the mural was created he supervised them. He’s a very talented artist so it was a great learning experience for them.”
She said another reason students took interest in the project was because they were taught that some soldiers who served in the First World War would have been their age.
Liverpool Boys high School student Danial Mandawi, 16, was involved in the project.
He had experienced a different war in his home country.
“I was young when I left Iraq – I can’t really remember too much. Just a hazy memory of big explosions so our families got into cars and traveled to Jordan,” he said.
“They thought it was a good idea to come to Australia and I came to Liverpool Boys in 2013. It’s important to remember those in war and those who didn’t make it.
“I think the war I experienced and the one in World War I were very different, there was no connection but I’ve learnt a lot. When I was young I liked to withdraw and do art. It allowed me to escape from reality. I’d like to become a cartoon illustrator one day.”
He said the artist they worked with was inspiring.
The mural will be part of his major work at the Big Picture Academy, a creative and hands-on program offered by the school.
“I asked Cameron to be my mentor. He’s a very kind person.
“I’ve spray-painted some parts of the mural and helped with the background which is made of blues. I created the word ‘reflect’, painted the sun and helped the younger boys with what Cameron taught me.
“The mural is a way to pay respect to the community. It was an honour coming in and doing things that other students wouldn’t get a chance to.”
Fellow year 10 student, Adam Sharif, helped to paint the background and the poppies.
Adam also hails from Iraq.
“I moved to Australia when I was three. We moved because of the war and my family came here because it was a safer place to live,” Adam said.
“My uncle died in the war so the topic is meaningful for me in different ways. I’ve learnt a lot from it and I was really excited to be one of the students chosen. I’ve learnt new art techniques and how to spray-paint.”
The mural is on display outside Liverpool Plaza.
Liverpool Mayor Wendy Waller said Liverpool has been continuously connected with the military since the 1880s when NSW Colonial Forces trained artillery and mounted units in Holsworthy.
“There are still soldiers in Holsworthy and Liverpool is the birthplace of the modern army,” she said. “The 5th and 4th RAR units were formed at Holsworthy and Ingleburn respectively and many other units are and have been based there.
“The work was commissioned by Liverpool Plaza and designed by Cameron Wall and students of Liverpool Boys High School.
“The project is part of Liverpool Council’s Visions of Peace – an innovative collection of light projects on Liverpool buildings along Macquarie Mall and Macquarie Street.”