Bundaberg State High School students have teamed up with local artist Jaygee Designs to spread an important message about bullying through public art.
The group has been working on a large, brightly-coloured mural along Boreham Street at the back of the school grounds.
The words “don't be mean behind the screen” are emblazoned across the concrete wall along with pictures depicting scenes of bullying as well as support.
The project is the brainchild of the school's junior representative councillors, including Cadence Taylor, Ella Cislowski, Aida Peterson, Sophie Moore, Thomas Baker and Fletcher Churchill and has been overseen by the school’s Junior Secondary Head of Department, Mr Ian Tranent.
“The Junior Representative Council has a responsibility to be the voice of the student body in the junior school,” Mr Tranent said.
“The anti-bullying mural idea was established at the 2020 leadership camp and has been in the planning phase for around six months before the art work was recently started.”
Mr Tranent said an important aspect of the mural was the promotion of social justice issues, such as bullying, both within and outside the school community.
“We are proud of our school’s anti-bullying stance and believe it’s important to communicate it to the Bundaberg community,” he said.
“The mural highlights bullying in all its forms and aims to promote the school’s zero tolerance for all forms of bullying.
“The students believe that bullying is a major social issue that occurs everywhere, and cultural change begins at an early age.”
Mr Tranent said through the artwork, multiple scenes of bullying are depicted, along with phrases including “bullying no way” and “not at our school”.
“The thing that we want to stand out the most is the central image,” he said.
“Once the mural is complete it will show a small group of unified students holding hands.
“This represents people standing by each other in tough times to encourage and support them through their situation whether it be bullying or another type of issue they are facing.”
Jaygee Designs helps to bring mural idea to life
Jason Garden of Jaygee Designs said he got involved in the project to help bring the students' ideas to life through his artwork.
“I have been working with the students to help execute their ideas on to the blank wall,” he said.
“Their anti-bullying message is an important one.”
Jason said he began focusing on art when he was around the same age as some of the students he was working with at Bundaberg State High School.
“I started getting into art from when I was about 15 years old and haven't stopped,” he said.
“I paint all sorts of things, from bikes and cars to canvas work, airbrushing, signwriting and more – when you have a great passion for something you just keep going.
“This current project with the school has been coming together really well and the kids have been great to work with, I am hoping to get them more involved in the painting side of things very soon.”
Local business donates paint for mural
Jaygee Designs hasn't been the only local business involved with the students' mural project.
Mandy Ohlbrecht from Taubman's Paints has also been an integral part of the process, according to Bundaberg State High School's Ian Tranent.
“All of the paint for the project, which is thousands of dollars’ worth, has been kindly donated by Taubman's Paints through their local paint representative Mandy Ohlbrecht,” he said.
“Mandy even joined our students and their parents at a working bee one Saturday morning where we painted the base-coat of the wall.
“Without Mandy and the generosity of Taubman's Paint the project wouldn’t have happened.”