Poplar schoolchildren and artist-in-residence launch “fantastical” forest mural

Schoolchildren, community groups and a professional artist pitched together to brighten up a Poplar estate with a “fantastical” forest mural which was launched today.

The Teviot Centre, which houses after-school groups, youth clubs and other activities in the Teviot estate, is now the proud owner of the large mural, painted by John Mayson.

He is a 29-year-old artist in residence at the nearby Manorfield primary school in Wyvis Street.

He spent the last month-and-a-half consulting with schoolchildren, parents, shopkeepers and business owners and groups who use the centre, such as the Bangladeshi Cultural Community Group and the Teviot Centre after school club, about what design they wanted.

He said: “I had a number of ideas myself beforehand and then I could see that the overwhelming response was to have something to do with nature and trees.

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“I think as its such a big space it was suited to that but also there is the history of the area and the history of poplar trees here.”

The hard work of painting the mural then took place for five days during the February half-term, with Mr Mayson ably supported by children from the estate.

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He said: “It was a lot of fun.

“Drivers would be beeping their horns and giving me the thumbs-up as they passed.”

He described it as being “slightly fantastical with lots of warm yellows and bright colours.”

Pupils from schools, including Manorfield, Langdon Park and Arnhem Wharf have submitted their own drawings of objects to go in the “forest” which will now be spray-painted on.

The mural was funded by Grassroot Grants, a government intiative and the centre is managed by Poplar HARCA.

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