St. Mary Catholic Secondary School student Gabrielle Madden might be off to the University of Toronto this fall, but a piece of her will always be a part of the school – a 320 square foot piece.
Spanning one side of St. Mary's cafeteria, a medieval style mural brings life and fantasy to a popular hang-out spot in the school.
The mural took five months to complete, from initial sketches to tracing her design onto the wall, to painting.
"My art teacher was looking to make a mural in the school for a long time and offered me the opportunity to create one as my co-op," said Madden.
Melissa Kiely, the art teacher and Arts Department Head at St. Mary, accepted Gabrielle as a co-op student for the second term of the school year. She commissioned the young artist to come up with three proposal ideas for the wall space in the cafeteria. After working with Kiely through the creative process, and after securing approval of the final image from Principal Michael Gravina, Madden was ready to paint the large three panel mural.
In terms of design, Madden was given complete artistic freedom as long as the final image represented St. Mary school.
"A lot of the murals in St. Mary are very specific to a certain sector, like sports, drama, or music," she said. "I wanted one that was neutral, one that people who don't associate themselves with music or sports, or science could enjoy."
She decided to use St. Mary's mascot, a crusader, and build her image from there. Overlooking a village, the scene bursts with colours, details, and awe. She took a ordinary wall and transformed it into an incredible masterpiece. From each ripple in the mountains, to the tiny villagers in the castle, to the detailing on the houses, the scene depicts more than a picture but more so talent, passion, and pride.
Humbled in her work, Madden expressed how thankful she was to have this opportunity and noted it would not have been possible without the help and support of countless peers, especially Josh Vandergeer, Erica Pierce, Ryan Silvestri, Morgan Woods, Melissa Spong, and Sarah Heald.
As a true crusader, Madden is off to concur her next adventure in post-secondary, however her legacy will forever stand in the heart of St. Mary.