Celebrating the wildlife of the River Wandle

A 15 metre wide mural has been unveiled on Garratt Lane, featuring a collection of collages and drawings created by over 300 pupils at a series of workshops in five local schools, together with local residents who took part in two half-day drop in community events.

Local artist and illustrator Jane Porter was commissioned to create the mural around the theme of the River Wandle from source to the Thames celebrating the wildlife both in and around the river.

As part of the project children from five local primary schools who took part also learnt about the ecology of the river through workshops with the South East Rivers Trust education programme, Project Kingfisher.

Artist Jane Porter said, “I was thrilled to be invited to lead this project, particularly because of the River Wandle theme. I have been involved as a river clean-up volunteer with the South East Rivers Trust for 20 years so I know the river and its wildlife intimately. While I have worked on many community art projects with children over the years, this is the biggest one I’ve ever undertaken at 15 metres wide. It was really exciting to have such a huge canvas to work with. Every single piece of the collage is a gem and I’m so proud of what everyone has created. Thank you to all those who took part.”

Brendan Conway from Earlsfield Community Land Trust commented, “Art can bring communities together by providing a platform for engagement and collaboration. Public art projects that involve community members in the creative process can foster a sense of ownership and pride, leading to a greater understanding of different perspectives and experiences, and ultimately promoting social cohesion and empathy. This dynamic community art project involving our local schools and much-loved community spaces like Paradise Coop and Kimber Skate Park creates significant amenity and social value.”

Mrs. Ayesha Sheikh from St Michael’s Primary School said, “I would like to thank you [Jane Porter] for an amazing afternoon; the children were really inspired and loved creating their collages using different materials and techniques. It was very special for them to use the textured sheets and the colour pencils you kindly provided. It was such a wonderful opportunity for the children to get to know you and work with you, thank you so much for your time and effort.”

To find out more about Jane and her community artwork as well as her picture books, sign up for her free monthly newsletter here: https://janeporter.substack.com/

This mural is one of three projects supported by funding from Higgins Partnerships, and secured through Section 106 planning commitments with Wandsworth Council. Amy Ross, Director of ESG at Higgins Partnerships said: “We are really impressed with the all the work that has been carried out to create this eye-catching mural. It’s been wonderful to see so many children and local residents become engaged with the project and also have the opportunity to learn more about the importance of the river and why we must do everything we can to protect it and the wildlife surrounding it. I’d like to thank Jane and also Brendan who has helped us coordinate and lead this successful project.”

For further information about Higgins Partnerships please visit www.higginspartnerships.co.uk