Rockers Rod Stewart and Ron Wood wrote that ‘every picture tells a story.’
Combine thousands of portraits with an environmental theme, and then display this photo collection at the rear entrance of Langley Fine Arts School’s (LFAS’s) Chief Sepass Theatre, and this forest of faces has quite a tale to tell.
Over a period of several months, roughly 30 senior photography students at LFAS worked on a large scale, 76-foot by 14-foot photo mosaic mural for the exterior of the school.
This is a unique mural; it features 17,500 faces in the mosaic arranged to form an image of the Blaauw Eco Forest.
Each student, teacher, staff was photographed five times with different facial expressions, and then each image was reproduced several times.
The mural is meant to raise awareness of the physical and environmental benefits of nature, and the important role people collectively play in protecting it.
The mural project was sponsored by the Canadian Scholarship Trust, and a few small businesses in Fort Langley.
“First of all, I was so excited when they (the students) were taking the initiative. It was their idea. I just supported them,” LFAS photography instructor Donna Usher said.
“It takes so much to make something like this actually happen… that when it was actually on the wall, one of my students said, ‘Oh this is really happening.’ I’m so proud of my students.”
Usher said this project “would not have happened without the support from the Butterfly Effect community.”
“The student leaders involved in the mural were a part of cross-curricular learning community where students work collaboratively to guide their own learning and support the learning of others,” she noted.
Usher said part of the premise around the project was to be inspired by local issues.
The students chose nature deficit disorder and the Blaauw Eco Forest, which in 2013 was saved from a bulldozer, thanks in large part to a $2.5 million donation from the Blaauw family to Trinity Western University.
“The kids got connected to the forest,” Usher said. “We had a photo show to raise some money for WOLF (Watchers of Langley Forests) and the kids really felt passionate about saving it (the Blaauw Eco Forest). So when this came up we were like, ‘of course.’ This is a little school being involved in something really quite a bit bigger than ourselves, and taking part in it, and acknowledging it.’”