18 January 2012
Two 13-year-old graduating students of St. Mark’s Church School in Wellington, New Zealand, Jeeten Mavji and Lachlan Buchanan, spearheaded and carried out the winning artwork in this year’s Youth for Human Rights International Art Contest.
With the help of 30 classmates and art teacher Angela Francis, they built and painted a human rights mural as their “leavers’ artwork”—a tradition at the Wellington school since 2007 in which seniors create and leave a piece of art for future classes to enjoy.
Mavji and Buchanan, who learned about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) from the Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI) website, painted wooden silhouettes of themselves with terms that express the concepts in articles of the UDHR and mounted them as a mural on the wall of the school playground.
Mavji, whose role as head of art is part of the school’s leadership program, says the concept gradually became easier as the students gained understanding of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
St. Mark’s Church School Year 8 Teacher, Rochelle Thorn, submitted photos of the mural to Youth for Human Rights International. Winners of the annual contest were announced on December 10, United Nations Human Rights Day.
The finished piece is certainly something the leavers can be proud of, something that will remind those staying of those leaving and something to remind us all of the importance of human rights,” says senior school head Cathy Underhill.