Newtown Junior School in Waterford (Ireland’s only Quaker national school) has chosen to mark Ireland 2016 by creating an Indoor Garden of Peace.
Artist Ciara Harrison, a Rathfarnham Quaker and a past pupil of Newtown Secondary School, came up with the idea for the collaborative and educational art project and helped the children bring the peace garden to life.
“As a national school, Newtown Junior School was required to commemorate the anniversary of the 1916 Rising,” said Ciara, “But, as a Quaker school, it was important for them to respect the Quaker ethos of peace, pacificity and non-violence.
“We took on the approach of looking to the future – to the next 100 years – to promote a world of peace. We decided to use the symbol of a white poppy to do this.
“The initiative of the white poppy began in Britain in 1933 by a women’s pacifist group as a symbol of peace and non-violence. This symbol is widely used among Quakers in Britain and also in Ireland.
“We were inspired by this group and decided that we would produce a garden of peace where each pupil would produce a poppy (using recycled white fabric) that would then be installed in an area of the school, creating an Indoor Garden of Peace that would invite visitors, staff and pupils to walk among it and, at the end of the exhibition, to take a poppy of peace home with them.”