This was a very exciting project in Avcilar, a degraded area in Istanbul, Turkey. I run this workshop with primary students of Leyla Bayran Ilkokulu, the most populated school in Turkey. Students, NGO teachers and myself worked together to create this 100 square meters wall.
Project made in collaboration with The Flying Library Istanbul which was made possible by Goethe Institut Istanbul and local NGO Yuva.
When I first met the team at The Flying Library we discussed some possible projects. Right after that we got hands on, went to check at the primary school nearby and discuss my idea with the principal. On my visit I explored the school which they kindly show me and took photos of all the potential wall I could use for the workshop. From all of them, there was one that made lot of sense to use. By being a short but long wall, we could have many students painting at the same time and they could reach almost all the surface.
I started working on the idea. Turkey's schools tend to have lots of nationalistic propaganda so I wanted to have a pure imaginative concept and trying to avoid the use of red which, as it's the main colour of the national flag is everywhere. I did this sketch with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.
I measured the different sections of the walls and prepared some rough guides with the sketch so it would take less time to mark it on the wall.
I normally do a quick mock up to have an idea of how could look and to show the people involved in the process.
We first planned to have 15 children maximum per session but...
Ahmed was directly involved in The Flying Library and got hands on
Gülistan mainly worked in the office at Yuva but showed to be really skilled with dealing with kids and with painting!
It seemed to me that none of the children had a similar experience before. They really had fun and got inspired by the painting. The best part was the sense of ownership for the mural they all had, as they acknowledge their own contribution.
The experience was so great and it was so fun and rewarding working together that I included the names of the teachers that formed the crew and made the project happen.
Right the day before we started the workshop they built a door so I had to improvise a few metres to the right. I designed this cat in-situ, who is piloting the ship.
I usually design postcards to keep for my records and to send to family and friends. This time I went a bit further and designed a postcard for each character with some motivational quote. Yuva liked them so I offered them to be printed and shared with the students of the school.
You can check the Flying Library painting I also did in the same area in partnership with Goethe Institut Istanbul.