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Plea to save 40ft mural created over seven years by art teacher and 50 pupils

AN artist is appealing for a new home for a 40ft mural that she and dozens of schoolchildren took seven years to paint.

Former teacher Helen Forde created the massive artwork at a school in Edinburgh which is about to be demolished.

There is no room for the mural at the replacement school and unless a new home can be found, the remarkable creation will end up in a skip.

Helen was an art teacher at Portobello High, where she was known to pupils as Mrs Brady.

Between 1993 and 2000, she and a team of 50 youngsters created the mural in the main hall, which tells the story of art from cave paintings to pop art.

The mural took seven years to complete
The mural took seven years to complete

The mural, which includes recreations of works by masters such as Rembrandt, was made to give students something to look at during exams.

Helen said: “If the mural doesn’t get taken in a month, when they move school, I believe it will be thrown out.”

The 72-year-old, still working as an oil painter based at a studio in Leith, added: “The thought of it being broken up is not nice.

“Anyone who takes it would have to take it in one piece. If you took part of it, it would not make sense, it’s as one thing – a journey through history.”

The mural was designed to help out students suffering the annual torment of exams.

She said: “When exams are on, students had to face the back wall, a blank wall with the clock on, instead of the front, so I wanted them to have something to look at.

“I designed something with the aim of depicting art history, that would not go out of date, and that everyone would recognise.

“I do remember the pupils vying with each other to paint Mary Queen of Scots and the Rembrandt self portrait while the less confident loved doing the cave paintings.

The mural is made up of ten, eight foot high and four foot wide panels, which were mounted on wooden battens made by the Design and Technology Department.

“The design of the new school features a lot of windows and there isn’t anywhere where it could go,” said Helen.

“It would be splendid if it goes to anywhere where it will be appreciated, and will brighten up the place.”

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