The Newport NS pupils display their books.

Newport NS pupils take part in unique global art project

THIRTY lucky pupils from the Holy Family School in Newport have been busy taking part in an exciting global art project involving bookmaking and illustration.

The project, devised by visual artist Cas McCarthy, called 'Things I love', was launched on Friday for Cruinniù Na nÓg - the national day of creativity for children.

The students created a series of 30 handmade books in tandem with 30 students from St. Finbarr’s primary school in Byron Bay in New South Wales, Australia. The beautiful images created by the students were digitised and the books are available to view online in both Ireland and Australia.

Things I Love was carried out in the classroom by primary teachers Michelle Finnerty in Newport primary school with her pupils from second class and by Mary McEvilly-Butler in St. Finbarr’s school with her year 5 and year 6 pupils.

Mayo native Mary McEvilly-Butler hails from Ballintubber and has been teaching In Australia for the past 10 years. Mary is the daughter of Walter and Phyllis McEvilly, Ballintubber, a family well known for traditional music in west Mayo.

This art project took place over three weeks in May, with children making their own handmade elastic band bound miniature books. Then, alongside their teachers, the children discussed and reflected on the people, places, pastimes, pets and animals they love.

As a result, delightful drawings and images bubbled up in imaginations and with the help of pencils, biros and colours, were committed to the pages of the handmade books.

Between the two schools 50 marvellous little books were created by the children. The books were then digitised by visual artist Cathal McCarthy.

The 50 books, which are physically just a bit bigger than a box of matches, are currently on display on Newport National School’s website. They are beautiful objects in themselves with their gracefully handled pages bearing the marks, images, colours and swirls of a child’s earnest engagement.

In this project connections were made between two classrooms at opposite ends of the world when children from two different continents worked simultaneously on the same art project. The artwork completed provides insight into what the important things are in children’s lives from two culturally diverse countries, during the time of Covid-19, 2021.

This project was supported by Austin Vaughan, Mayo County Library Services. Funding from Creative Ireland Mayo for this project is gratefully acknowledged.

The books can be viewed on the Newport NS website: