Fairfield High School (FHS) has unveiled a colourful and stunning mural in a pivotal area near the Sports Hall, enjoyed by hundreds of the school’s community, thanks to local artist Rosie Caley.
Rosie was tasked with designing a BAME and LGBTQI+ street art themed mural, addressing sport engagement issues often witnessed at Fairfield and echoed across the country. The aim also being to engage groups of students often disconnected from the subject.
This was a project Rosie undertook with great gusto and pride, as she decided on the best way to visually convey the challenge. The decision: to feature a number of famous athletes and role models, namely Nicola Adams, Mo Farah, Hedaya Wahba, Ade Adepitan, Tom Daley and Simone Biles whilst reflecting FHS’s vibrancy and passion in the form of a huge rainbow.
Creator of the project and Assistant Director of PE at Fairfield Lauren Gibbons explains: “The area leading to the Sports Hall was cold, blank and clinical looking which did little to inspire our students on their way to PE. It was literally crying out for life and colour. This coupled with the fact Physical Education and Sport are still facing many cultural barriers and harsh stereotypes linked to ‘gender specific sports’ and ‘masculinity’ led to a negative view of the subject with low participation rates.”
Armed with sketches, paints and her own natural positive outlook, Rosie set to work to put her radical ideas into reality. Over the course of just 11 days, the mural was complete. The finished product has received much praise on social media platforms and the most important audience… the students!
Rosie comments: “My experience lies in fine art and landscapes. Mural wise I have completed a few scenery based pieces including a café in Easton and a pub in Redland which I thoroughly enjoyed. This was a whole different ball game, though, as it relied on my portrait skills which was a rapid learning curve. Luckily it paid off and I can’t deny I’m proud of the finished result and what it stands for.”
Speaking about the journey ahead, Lauren comments: “This mural, as wonderful as it is, will not be enough on its own to change perceptions. It is a gradual process whereby students’ everyday experiences will need to be highlighted including language, activities, facts, role models and terminology whilst in lessons and clubs. This powerful and visually appealing piece of artwork is a fantastic starting block for unleashing a whole manner of conversations and actions.”
Rosie concludes: “The long-term goal of PE is to educate pupils on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, physically, socially and mentally. This is a matter very close to my heart, as three years ago I was on the London commuter belt, working as an Engineer and putting in long hours. This took its toll on my physical and mental health. I still feel passionately about pursuing Engineering, so I’m in the process of finding the balance between the two.”